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Monday, October 26, 2020

Letters

Millennium Pipeline cheating ways

Sep 21, 2020

To the editor:
In December 2015, with great fanfare, Millennium Pipeline announced its Eastern System Upgrade. They boasted that they would be spending $275,000,000 on the project, which would consist of a new compressor station in the Town of Highland, a second compressor in the Town of Hancock and an additional pipeline in Orange County.
Their previous upgrade, in 2008, had inexplicably been granted extended tax breaks from the Sullivan County IDA, despite creating zero permanent jobs. With great pride, Millennium declared that it would not be seeking tax breaks this time.
Millennium's spokeswoman, Michelle Smith-Hook, showed up at local events with big checks for local charities. Well, not exactly. The checks were large in size, not in amount—big cardboard blow-ups that a group could crowd around for a photo-op. Town leaders' pet charities were targeted by Millennium and money was gladly accepted.
Millennium granted the financially strapped town and school a one-time “gift” that filled public coffers and mollified disgruntled taxpayers. Shortly after, the Highland Lake Fire Department was given money to purchase an ATV.
Now, however, Millennium has finally revealed their true intentions. No longer in need of any community support, they are suing the town over their property tax assessment. They laughably claim that their facility is only valued at $27,600,000, not the $86,326,200 determined by Highland's town assessor.
A reduction in value that large would rob Highland and the county of $772,032.37. Whatever monies Millennium “gifted” to the town and local charities are negligible by comparison.
Next time Millennium comes around with a “big” check, everyone should be able to see it for what it really is: a public relations photo-op designed to burnish the reputation of a company that admittedly emits known toxins, carcinogens and endocrine disruptors into the air. It's an integral part of a larger strategy to cheat us out of their tax obligations.


George Billard
Eldred




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