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By Shirley Murtha
At the February 6 Board of Selectmen meeting, Kent McCord and Barry Avery presented information on the Solarize CT Campaign, intended to encourage state residents to aid in energy conservation through the use of solar power. Along with David Desiderata, McCord and Avery are members of a subcommittee of the Conservation Commission assigned to do due diligence regarding this program. Attempts to interest residents in solar in the past have not resulted in much participation, but it is hoped that this time more people are aware of its benefits.
The marketing firm Smart Power will present workshops in the upcoming months to educate the community on not only the energy benefits, but also the financial benefits of federal and state tax incentives. At this time, eight solar companies are in the bidding to be the town’s supplier. The subcommittee had not yet made a decision on which company would be chosen but were confident that residents for whom solar is a good option would receive between a 10 and 20 percent discount on their choice of solar array.
The campaign began on Feb. 1 and will run for 18 weeks. Town Manager Bill Smith noted that the Solarize CT campaign is strictly residential and is partially funded by the state for both individual towns and groups of towns that may combine their applications. There will be no charge to residents who wish to have their property evaluated for potential solar use.
The board approved the Conservation Committee’s request for participation in the Solarize CT Campaign.
Budget Workshops to Commence
The following assignments were made for leadership of the upcoming budget workshops: Administration: First Selectman Scott Kuhnly; Personal and Property Protection: Mark Neumann; Public Works and Environment: Jim Lofink; Libraries, Recreation and Social Services: Sally King; Capital Budget and Debt Service: Ed Ohannessian.
Administration includes the town manager’s office, the probate court, registrars, tax collection, property assessment, finance management and community development. Personal and Property Protection involves building inspection, the fire and police departments, and health services. Capital Budget and Debt Service involve the town manager and finance officer. Libraries, Recreation and Social Services and Public Works are self-explanatory.
The town’s grand list has been completed and submitted to the state. It shows an increase of .61 percent, which will lead to approximately $200,000 in new revenue at the current mill rate.
Capital Lease Purchase Program
Once again, Simsbury Bank has given the town the best rate for funding purchases in the Capital Lease Program. The town will receive $685,731 to be paid back over five years for the purchase of a backhoe, a large heavy-duty dump truck and technology for the Board of Education. Additionally, a loan of $211,000 to be paid back over three years will fund BOE one-on-one computing equipment.
Grant Application Approvals
The board approved grant applications for the Recycling Rewards Program and the Neglected Cemetery Grant. The recycling grant would be used for educational materials regarding the recycling program that the town participates in through Paine’s. It has been a while since the benefits of recycling have been emphasized so town-wide communication is needed.
The center cemetery is far from neglected, but the grant would provide $2,000 for use in repairing fences and markers as well as general maintenance of the property.
Resignations and Appointments
The board approved the nomination of Cheri Berggren to the Library Board. Berggren fills the seat of retired member Judy Goff, who was thanked for her many years of service on the board.
The following vacancies exist: one on the Conservation Commission and one on the Park and Recreation Board. If you are interested in serving on either of these, contact Democratic Town Committee chairman Jim Lofink (860-810-0274) or Republican Town Committee Chairman Mark Neumann (860-978-4808).