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River Agency Expects NYPA To Submit New Power Contract This Week

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LOUISVILLE - St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency expects to have a new 20 megawatt power contract from the New York Power Authority within the next week.
River Agency Chairman Robert O. McNeil said the authority has finished reworking a contract that will grant the economic development agency 20 megawatts of power to allocate to businesses for economic development.
Mr. McNeil said he does not believe the contract will allow the unallocated portion of the power to be sold on the open market, a sticking point, he says, that will require legislative action.
The original contract was rejected by former Governor David A. Paterson's attorneys on grounds it was not a legal way to allocate the authority-produced power. The contract was never resubmitted to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's office despite opinions from at least two attorneys that the contract is legal.
For the past 10 months, the authority has failed to give any formal updates on the contract, but has continuously stated it is being reviewed by attorneys.
What the new contract includes remains unknown.
Mr. McNeil said while he doesn't expect the new rendition to allow for the sale of the power, he is excited to see some movement from the authority. He said, in time, he expects a second contract will be drawn up to allow the agency to sell unallocated power into the open market.
"We expect to hear from the Power Authority attorneys and staff by as soon as Friday," he said. "They think they have a contract the new governor will accept. For the first time we have some movement."
Mr. McNeil said the news shows the authority is turning its attention to the contract."For the first time this year, we have movement. Now the players are here and things are to take flight," he said.
County representative to the River Agency was less optimistic about the news.
"I want it in my hands before I make a decision as to what the next step should be," Legislator Vernon "Sam" Burns (D-Ogdensburg) said. "I want to see what it includes and have it in my hands before I get excited about anything. Maybe I'm not as optimistic as the rest of the board, but I think I am being realistic."
The board river agency board voted 4-1, with Mr. Burns as the no vote, to include an $800,000 revenue line item in the budget as an estimated profit from the sale of power.
Louisville's representative to the agency, Thomas Carroll Jr., expressed concerns with including the revenue in budget as well, but voted in favor.
"We can change it if we need to," he said.
Mr. McNeil said a special meeting will likely be held once the contract is received, but no date was set.

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