SALAMANCA – A new slate of officers and updates on ongoing projects topped the agenda for the annual meeting of the Southern Tier Extension Rail Authority on Monday.
The rail authority spans from the point the rail line enters New York, in Harmony, in Chautauqua County, to Hornell, in Steuben County. Together with the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad and Norfolk Southern, it has a bed of rail that sees a lot of use.
The authority is in the process of renewing an agreement for payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, for land where the lines are situated. New York is the only state to tax railroads.
The PILOT in question is a 15-year agreement that requires nothing to be paid in the way of taxes. The only payment is an annual $40,000 payment to Southern Tier West, a regional development agency, for administrative costs.
“That covers our financial and legal obligations,” said Richard Zink, Southern Tier West’s executive director. “We have never exceeded that amount.”
Because the rail authority has not exceeded the administrative costs, Zink said, Southern Tier West was not looking for any increase in the PILOT renewal. The new agreement would be valid through 2028.
As part of the meeting, a new slate of officers also was elected:
The board will be made up of William Daly of Chautauqua County, chairman; Joseph Eade of Cattaraugus County, vice chairman; and Joseph Griffin of Steuben County, second vice chairman.
On the corporate side, the officers will be Richard Zink of Southern Tier West, CEO; John Foels of Allegany County, treasurer; and Thomas Barnes of Southern Tier West, secretary.
In other news, the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad went all of 2012 without a reportable accident, earning the railroad the Jake Award, given by the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.
“In the rail industry, that’s a great accomplishment,” Daly said.
The line also reported only three derailments in the calendar year.
The next rail authority meeting is set for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 21 in Southern Tier West’s meeting room in the Regional Center for Excellence, 4039 Route 219, Salamanca.