The Providence City Council Finance Committee is set to hold a public hearing on Monday, July 23 at 5pm to discuss an ordinance establishing a new tax exemption and stabilization (TSA) plan for the Manchester Street Power Station. The Manchester Street Power Station is currently owned by Dominion. The power plant, converted to burning natural gas in 1995, produces 450 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 112,000 homes.
In 2017, Dominion entered into a TSA that saved the company $4 million. As part of that agreement, Providence was to be be able to negotiate for rights to a small strip of land connecting to Collier Park. The original TSA stated that if Providence and Dominion could not come to an agreement regarding the strip of land connecting to Collier Park, Dominion would owe Providence and additional $300,000.
The purpose of the TSA to be discussed Monday night is to “to memorialize a further modification to the TSA which provides for the following:
- a revision to the Tax Stabilization Plan to provide for an additional payment of $150,000.00; and
- the removal of the agreements relative to the transfer of the use of Collier Park from Dominion to the City.”
In other words, Providence is giving Dominion a $150,000 break on the money it owes. And Providence will not be getting that “small strip of land connecting to Collier Park.”
I wrote about how giving tax breaks to a power station that uses fracked gas to generate electricity is a bad deal when Providence struck established a TSA with Dominion in April 2017. The purpose of the TSA, as written then, was to encourage “Dominion to retain or expand its facility in the City of Providence.”
Lost in the discussion about a tax stabilization agreement between the City of Providence and Dominion, the company that owns the Manchester Street Power Station, is the question of whether or not we, as a city, want to incentivize the use of fossil fuels though tax breaks.
Natural gas, we are learning, is far from natural or safe, and for environmental reasons, notably global warming, we should be doing everything we can to get off fossil fuels. Giving tax breaks to fossil fuel burning power plants irresponsibly incentivizes their continued use and possible expansion.
If any person wishes to make public comment they are asked to sign-in prior to the 5:00 PM meeting start time. The Chambers will open on or around 4:30 PM and sign ups will begin at the same time.
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Constituents who are unable to attend the public hearing can provide written testimony by mail or email to Lori L. Hagen, City Clerk: firstname.lastname@example.org or City Clerk, 25 Dorrance Street, Room 311, Providence, RI 02903. (Please note, if you submit written testimony you are not required to appear or read your testimony at the public hearing.)
Offices and City Council Chambers are accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you are in need of interpreter services for the hearing impaired, please contact the Office of Neighborhood Services at 421-7768 not less than 48 hours in advance of the hearing date.
The Providence City Council Committee on Finance:
- Majority Leader John Igliozzi, Chair
- Senior Deputy Majority Leader Terrence Hassett, Vice-Chair
- Majority Whip Jo-Ann Ryan
- Council President Pro Tempore Sabina Matos
- Councilwoman Carmen Castillo
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