Taxing the wind?
What’s the wind turbine at Shalom Apartments worth and whether it should be taxed were questions raised at last Wednesday’s City Council meeting. There was consensus that the turbine should not be taxed, although Ward 4 Councilman Joseph Solomon raised the issue whether it should be treated as a tax abatement or exemption, a matter that is being researched before the council acts. City Tax Collector and Assessor Kenneth Mallette said yesterday that the turbines, as well as other “green” devices, “add value” as far as keeping expenses down. To illustrate his point, he said a hot water heater is not taxed and a solar water heater would not be taxed. By the same token, the turbine is providing electricity Shalom would have to otherwise purchase. If, on the other hand, Shalom built a wind farm for the purpose of selling power, then it would be subject to taxation. The issue of taxation was not raised for the New England Institute of Technology wind turbine since NEIT is a tax-exempt institution. Mallette said he favors exempting “green” devices rather than providing abatements. The legislation under consideration gives the assessor the authority to decide whether an exemption applies.