The Northern Westchester Examiner

Reserve Fund to Offset Indian Pt. Loss Proposed in State Budget

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Many eyes are on Albany these days as state lawmakers work around the clock on adopting a new budget, and among those paying close attention are school and municipal officials in the vicinity of the Indian Point nuclear power plants.

Of particular interest is a provision introduced by state Senator Terrence Murphy (R/Yorktown) that would allow the Hendrick Hudson School District to establish a reserve fund to help offset the loss in property taxes after the nuclear facility stops operating in 2021.

Murphy has also proposed expediting a comprehensive study on how the 240 acres that house Indian Point can be reused.

“There are a number of issues that New York State must address in preparation of the proposed closure of Indian Point,” Murphy said. “My colleagues in the Assembly, as well as Governor Cuomo must recognize the dire situation the Hendrick Hudson School District, the Village of Buchanan and the Town of Cortlandt face as a result of the closure of Indian Point. Not to mention the ripple effect to local businesses and homeowners.”

In early January, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Entergy and Riverkeeper stunned local officials when they announced Indian Point would close in April 2021 since it was no longer profitable enough for Entergy.

The announcement sent immediate financial shockwaves since Entergy is a major funding source, providing 33% of annual revenue to the Hendrick Hudson School District, 46% to the Village of Buchanan, 64% to the Verplanck Fire Department. 28% to the Hendrick Hudson Free Library, 2% to the Town of Cortlandt and 1% to Westchester County.

Hendrick Hudson Superintendent of Schools Joseph Hochreiter said a reserve fund would essentially enable the district to have a savings account after Entergy’s payments end in 2025. Hochreiter penned a letter to Assemblywoman Sandra Galef (D/Ossining) and others requesting their support of Murphy’s provisions to “ensure that the residents and students in the Hendrick Hudson School District are not left out in the cold as the Indian Point closure moves forward.”

“While we remain shocked and stunned at the closure, we now need to move forward creating financial stability for our community,” Hochreiter said. “These proposals do just that, ensure financial stability so large potential tax hikes are mitigated in the future.”

Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker is also hopeful state lawmakers vote in the community’s favor.

“It is imperative that Albany provide the support we need, especially since the decision to close Indian Point was made without our input,” she said.

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