Council Approves PILOT Agreement with Storage Facility

During a special meeting on Monday night, the city council approved a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement of up to 20 years with Flatiron Energy.

Flatiron Energy is looking to build a battery energy storage structure at 284 Eastern Avenue. The project is currently in the permitting stage with the city.

While the council did approve the PILOT agreement with Flatiron, the council voted to separate the community host agreement with the company from Monday night’s vote. Several councilors said they wanted more time to discuss the agreement before granting approval.

The PILOT agreement is based on the projected 250 megawatt capacity of the battery energy storage facility on the 3.7-acre site. The agreement will bring in just over $31 million to the city over 20 years.

In addition to the PILOT agreement, City Manager Fidel Maltez stated that Flatiron had agreed to provide $584,000 annually for workforce development in the city as part of the community host agreement.

“I think so far, everyone has been diligent in terms of getting the answers and asking questions, and Flatiron and the city manager have been efficient at providing all the answers,” said District 7 Councilor Manual Teshe. “There were still a couple of questions to be answered about the host community agreement, so I figure it is good for us to continue the conversation, but showing good faith that we will continue this project and support Flatiron and the PILOT agreement.”

District 8 Councilor Calvin Brown said he believes the PILOT agreement is fair, but that there have been some questions about the host agreement from union members and others in the community. He said he has faith that the city manager will continue to work with Flatiron to come up with an agreement that works with everyone.

District 1 Councilor Todd Taylor addressed some information he said has been making its way around the city stating that the town of Carver has a similar project which is bringing in more to that town per megawatt and that Chelsea was getting a bad deal.

“It just happens that I’m friends with the chair of the select board in Carver, and I called him up and I asked him what’s the deal? Is this going on or not?” Taylor said. “He said, look, this project has been on the board in Carver since before I was on the select board going back a decade. The numbers that you are citing have nothing to do with this project; there is no PILOT existing.”

Taylor said the numbers that were cited were for solar companies and could not be accurately compared to a project like the Flatiron battery facility.

“In case you are worrying about this because you received emails from certain persons in the community I’ll leave nameless, that somehow this was not a good deal for the city of Chelsea, I believe this is a fairly good deal for the city,” said Taylor. “I do have some reservations, but we have talked about them. I think the benefits outweigh the doubts.”

Taylor said the agreement provides needed funds from an industrial project.

“This gives us a lot of money up front, and the sense that we have to soak every single entity that comes and wants to do business in the city is a bad idea,” said Taylor. “We want what is fair and equitable and a good business deal is something that works for everybody.”

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