Lawmakers approve funding to help Town of Tonawanda & KenTon schools

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB)- Lawmakers are still trying to finalize the 2017-2018 state budget. Lawmakers told News 4, however, they have agreed on more funding to bring relief to taxpayers in the Town of Tonawanda.

The Town of Tonawanda, KenTon School District and Erie County lost nearly $6 million in tax revenue when the Huntley Generating Station closed down.

This state budget will put millions of dollars more into a fund meant to ease that burden.

School leaders told News 4 without this money the loss of the plant would’ve been catastrophic.

State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger and Senator Chris Jacobs announced the Electric Generation Facility Cessation Mitigation Fund will be extended and restructured.

It reimburses municipalities across the state for tax revenue lost due to an electric generation plant closing.

Local governments will now be able to take advantage of this fund for seven years, increased from just five years.

Municipalities apply for the program.

The first year they’ll get an 80 percent reimbursement of lost tax revenue, then 70 percent the next year, and then 10 percent less each subsequent year.

The KenTon School District told News they have already received more than $2 million under the current plan.

“With the budget we just approved last night, we’ve actually increased some staffing, if everything goes through with the state, so it helped that way,” said Stephen Bovino, the interim superintendent. “It helped cushion the blow where now we are not going to increase taxes for next year so that extra funding helps us get through.”

Lawmakers expect over the next seven years, through the expansion, school district will get nearly $3 million more than under the current plan.

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