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Without NRG, school district to have massive layoffs, tax hike

July 13, 2013

Editor’s note: This is the second in a four-part series previewing Monday’s public hearing with the Public Service Commission on NR....

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Jul-14-13 3:23 PM

Cerne said: "We've got a whole list of things we can do and we're already starting to nibble away at a few things, but we don't want to be overreactive because who knows, if the repowering comes in we might be back at the table renegotiating the PILOT..."

The district is facing a potential loss of millions in revenue, yet Cerne freely admits it can do things to save money???

I interpret Supt Cerne's warning to not "overreact" as essentially meaning that the district has the ability to save money, and still comply with state mandates, but only if it's forced to.

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Jul-14-13 9:39 AM

If the Public Service Commission approves the NRG project, then NRG will invest more than a half-billion dollars in private funds in Dunkirk, creating about 500 construction jobs for three years, keeping many permanent jobs, and increasing the tax base. That is good for everyone. If the PSC does not approve the project, then Dunkirk will lose about 42% of its tax revenues, there will be massive layoff and tax increases, and our employment base will drop. That is terrible for everyone. Of course the school and city should look for ways to consolidate and cut costs. In the meantime, everyone should support the NRG project!

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Jul-14-13 9:02 AM

Sorry Dcronlg, I miss typed, there was supposed to be another 0 on the end of that. The Gov't loan defaulted on by Solyndra was 527,000,000, (That's over half a Billion dollars), more than NRG has even proposed to spend on the conversion of the plant to NG, again, WITH IT"S OWN MONEY. I'm sorry, "Einstein" , but 527Mil of public money is not OK to throw away at an emerging green energy company, without making sure that it is sound. If you still think it is, then the point of trying to debate any common sense with you is non-existent. The whole Solyndra was a scam and a political favor anyway.

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Jul-14-13 8:26 AM

The headline should read. "Without NRG the school system faces consolidation".

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Jul-14-13 6:03 AM

hey cronig, what part of not 24/7 dont ya get on the green energy ? Wind and solar are not 24/7. Methane from a garbage dump is, but not wind and solar. You claim to be smaretr than all other print media and actual facts. Please explain how green energy will work and how you ignore fracking, by the private energy companies bad. fracking is the cause along with the libs paranoid delusions about co2. cronig, enlighten us.Is the state and its wonderful govt employees going to fix this.

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Jul-14-13 5:58 AM

Hey hvancdy, lackawanna future better without the steel plants? Are you nuts , talking to cronig ? I remember when 25,000 people worked there. Money flowed like water. we had a refinery in Buffalo too. all gone.there are 13,000 homes in buffalo to be demolished. this is good ? Are you on something ?

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Jul-14-13 5:53 AM

hey cronig, these other taxpayers, dont they pay taxes? You always say the state will step in. Does the state get the money from no where ? Are you that dumb ? Alternate energy a myth. PBS and other media say that alternate green energy need a backup like coal , gas or nuke. Are you that stupid or what ? You sre tsanding on aluminum foil like dk is. Hey cronig why is coal uneconomical ? ever figure it out ? fracking thats why. Why did that town in canada burn down. Fracking and no pipeline. Cronig you know nothing.

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Jul-13-13 9:14 PM

HAVAN the power plant in Niagara Falls is a government owned and operated non tax paying entity what does that have to do with NRG a private sector tax paying company??????

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Jul-13-13 8:46 PM

Just thinking here. If NRG were to close then the school districts would be forced to consolidate. Of course there would be a few superintendents out of a job but it's not about the supers it's about the kids. Now knowing the superintendents would not like losing $200,000 plus benefits so most likely they would petition the local government for a tax increase to keep their jobs. Looking at the NRG situation in this way I feel closing would be a good thing. Those employed at NRG would most likely be offered jobs at another plant and would be leaving the city. Can't beat that.

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Jul-13-13 8:24 PM

one thing Ive learned through this process is that most of the observer commentors and the general population as a whole know very little about how the electric energy business operates, the factors contributing to this situation, solutions to our energy needs and most of all, the moves we may see in the not too distant future. Ive said it before and I'll say it again, NRG is operated by some very very intellegent people, they're likely 3 moves ahead in this chess game.

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Jul-13-13 6:55 PM

Thank you rdnewt, you hit home run with that comment. The group you refer to are either naive, uninformed or ignorant of what has been happening. I have read many of their comments and it is embarrassing at times to read what they write.

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Jul-13-13 12:27 PM

No need to panic, after all, a 42% increase on $1.50/hr per student is only another $.63. Still an incredible value, or so we're told. You can't hire a babysitter at such a low rate, AND the kids get a formal education to boot!

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Jul-13-13 11:38 AM

Niagara Falls has one of the largest power plants in the world and look at that dump - Lachawanna's future looks much brighter without Bethlehem and it's subsidized jobs.Buffalo and Erie base has never been larger.(SEE Downtown,Williamsville or Orchard Park.)Has "Dumkirk Ice Cream Co." created alot of good paying jobs - NO ! nrg is no silver bullet for dumbkirks woes ! Coumo 2016 !!!!

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Jul-13-13 11:34 AM

NRG is being used as a scapegoat to justify tax rates far beyond what the taxpayers of Dunkirk can afford. The problem is not NRG and the solution is not NRG. The problem is the Dunkirk School system budget.

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Jul-13-13 10:11 AM

Support NRG and support natural gas conversion. It will be there while you tinker with alternative energies. Just because you want it around, doesn't mean that it will just be there. You need something to hang onto until it arrives.

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Jul-13-13 10:08 AM

So when you allow someone else to pay for your your school, who do you think will make the decisions on what is cut? Who do you think will make decisions regarding mergers and what additional taxes will be implemented to shore up the school? The government as a safety net... seems like a logical thing, until you see who you voted into office.

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Jul-13-13 10:03 AM

RdNewt -- this county has less than 1% of NYS' population...hardly a thorn in any NYS governor's side.

We're not even a gnat...

And yes, $500K investment in emerging green technologies is worth the risk.

But converting an aging power plant when the macro-energy market has passed it by, may not be worth the risk. In fact, all the major players in the nergy market are basically saying the same thing. NRG has YEARS to upgrade, but it didn't bother.

BTW, pls explain to me Einstein: how is $500K in green tech the same size as $750M in NG?? it isn't.

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Jul-13-13 9:58 AM

Right now, 45% - 50% of Dunkirk Schools' budget are paid for by Dunkirk residents.

However, right outside of Dunkirk, in the county's rural school districts, the local residents pay only 25%. Why??? Because state laws regarding municipal taxing for schools, capital infrastructure,etc mandate property taxes can only be assessed in amounts which can reasonably afforded by their base.

Rural schools tax bases are almost nonexistent.

Dunkirk loses NRG, its school tax bases diminishes drastically. Property taxes will not increase 49% to pay the difference -- the state will step in and pay more that its 45% right now -- JUST LIKE DOES FOR RURAL DISTRICTS AROUND DUNKIRK.

Of course, you guys don't bother to figure out the big picture of things...

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Jul-13-13 9:42 AM

What is happening here, is that our illustrious governor has decided to punish us in WNY, because we are a thorn in his side, and less likely to vote for him. He has gotten into bed, (metaphorically unlike the previous gov), with ultra Left-Wing groups who do not want us to even consider an increase in power production, but to force a lowering of production, causing prices to increase, thereby lowering consumption. That is Dr Evil's plot, first-take away the method of self defense, then force us into submission by not being able to afford utilities without drastic lifestyle changes. What is the next step I dare to wonder?

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Jul-13-13 9:37 AM

WE need to look at a bigger problem here, other than just bashing the Dunkirk Public School system, which of course needs work, as they all do. The bigger problem is the mindset of people like Judy, Marcia, Cronig, and Proud, who think that it is OK to spend $500,000,00 of taxpayer money on a failing green energy company, but it is not OK to allow a company to spend the same amount of it's own money on a project to convert to a cleaner, more efficient form of energy. Why is it anyone's business to tell a company or a person what they can or can't do with their money, but the government can throw ours away on wasteful projects of it's choosing, without our consent?

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Jul-13-13 8:35 AM

(con't) plan to meet the revenue shortfalls. Raising property taxes in an area that is already taxed to death will only make the prblem worase because it will force more people to leave and more businesses to give up. There needs to be a serious discussion about te restructuring of government and education to make our area more attractive for investment and cunducive to job retention and development. The fact is that our area has been mismanaged for decades and we are paying a big price for the mistakes of the past. We certainly hope NRG finds a way to survive in a hostile business environment.

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Jul-13-13 8:31 AM

We all hope NRG survives, grows and prospers but there is another side to this story that needs to be told. Our school district spends an outrageous $20,000 pere student per year, subsidized by state aid and NRG taxes. Our city spends nearly $1,700.00 per resident per year subsidized by NRG revenue. Our county spends over $200 million per year subsidized by NRG taxes. The fact may be that NRG has been robbed by local taxing authorities for over 60 years but the goose that's been laying the golden eggs has gone sterile. Can you imagine a company having to generate $8 million per year in profit just to pay it's local taxes? That's what NRG is up against. They are forced to subsidize a terribly inefficient local bureaucracy but their day of reckoning has arrived. Competition dictates what you can charge for your product and the competition in Pennsylvania and Ohio have much more friendly business environments. So, the Dunkirk school district is wise to start with a contingency (con't)

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Jul-13-13 8:29 AM

If teachers are cut, how will the libs get the graduation rate down to 20% like in Buffalo schools ? Children are our future and the libs make legions of uneducated kids.The city folk still vote democratic too. Unbelievable aint it ? So judeye and all the govt lovers, tell us what will we do if the plant closes . Raise taxes ? Judeye, shall we give the teachers a raise ?

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Jul-13-13 8:24 AM

we need to hear from learned judeye about what green clean renewable energy can do for dunkirk. dead birds and power blackouts. I almost wish for the plant to close. It seems people wont stand up to the looney liberals unless times get really bad. we need to hear from cronig about the taxpocalypse. Christopher and his sacred govt employee too. Look at lackawanna folks, the activists and unions did a great job there. Now they want to finish off dunkirk.

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Jul-13-13 7:50 AM

Oh please. When the money flows spending is up and the school system will not use common sense and just keep spending. Now that NRG is possibly going to leave its the end of the world. What are we going to do? We might have to cut out unnecessary programs, cut back on sports and teachers salary raises. To bad. A Person who knows what he/she is doing would have been planning for this when the word first hit the street. Now perhaps the school will teach instead of putting sports and extra curricular activities first.

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