CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — The debate surrounding PILOT agreements — or Payment in Lieu of Tax agreements — has come to a boiling point in Jefferson County.
Some local residents claim they are unconstitutional, while others say they are a business incentive.
In November, the Jefferson County Vision — a not-for-profit group “formed for the specific purpose of ensuring Rockwool has complied with and will continue to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws” — filed a lawsuit against Rockwool, the Jefferson County Commission, the Jefferson County Development Authority, the Jefferson County Board of Education, the sheriff and assessor of Jefferson County and against the Ranson City Council.
The lawsuit requested that the court find the PILOT agreement negotiated between Rockwool and the listed defendants unconstitutional. JCV claims that the PILOT agreement is a way of evading taxes. In a statement, JCV said the PILOT agreement “is a ‘work around’ used by development authorities to give tax breaks to particular businesses.”
However, Nicolas Diehl, executive director of the JCDA, said PILOT agreements are merely a way to make West Virginia attractive to prospective businesses.