The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has authorized the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) to increase its “payments in lieu of taxes” (PILOT) to $1.42 million thanks to a joint effort from local representatives in the Senate and House. The $1.42 million mark is an increase of $160,000 over last year’s PILOT payments from the BNL.
PILOT payments are part of a program that allows federally owned lands to make payments directly to the town, as opposed to paying taxes through property value assessments, which can often be conditional. The Town of Brookhaven entered into such an agreement with the DOE. The payments are then distributed by the Town to local districts and programs, such as the Longwood and Eastport-South Manor schools and libraries.
Last year the DOE’s payout to Brookhaven was $1.26 million, but this year the DOE was looking to decrease its contributions. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop convinced the DOE not to do so, claiming it would force Brookhaven Town to cut jobs and decrease programs in the town.
"The loss of the $1.4 million PILOT payment would have had a severe and immediate impact on the Town's current budget by way of layoffs and service cuts in order to protect the taxpayers," Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine stated in a release. "I am pleased that the payment has been restored and I thank Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Bishop for leading the fight to get it done."
"It's a big win for Brookhaven Town taxpayers that BNL's pilot payment will increase this year, and I'm very pleased that our advocacy made the case that Brookhaven deserved more from the federal government," Congressman Bishop stated in the same release.