Utility seeking tax refund from Lake George Village

LAKE GEORGE - Lake George Village is among the 150 or so communities around the state that are being asked by utility provider National Grid for a tax refunds totalling $13 million.

Village Clerk-Treasurer Darlene Gunther confirmed Tuesday that National Grid is seeking a partial refund of Gross Receipts tax it paid from December 2005 to September 2008, she said.

"The bottom line is they want us to pay back $13,431 plus appropriate interest," she said.

But Lake George Village Mayor Robert Blais is holding off on any refund until the utility's request is investigated.

Blais wrote a letter to National Grid stating that the matter was turned over to village attorney Howard Krantz for review.

"All computations were made by your staff and for each quarter," Blais' letter states, asking for documentation to support the refund request.

Blais' letter said paying back the amount would be a hardship, as the year's budget had already been allocated.

Gunther said Tuesday that the New York State Conference of Mayors had advised municipalities across the state to hold off on paying back the disputed taxes until the validity of the claim is investigated. The organization has said that National Grid might now be misinterpreting state law regarding the tax payments.

Other municipalities affected include cities and villages in Saratoga, and Washington counties - as well as in Glens Falls.

In letters sent to the local governments in December, National Grid said they erroneously included revenues from electric and gas transmission services which did not originate within the municipalities' boundaries.

Other area communities were hit harder than Lake George.

The city of Glens Falls was asked for about $150,000, and Saratoga Springs received a request for a refund of about $250,000. The village of Corinth was asked for $87,000 and South Glens Falls received a request for about $22,500.

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