Solar panels behind the Town of Chester Municipal center soak up sun and generate electricity to power the complex — with the excess power being fed into the regional power grid. The town has a variety of such installations which are expected to save taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars per year. Following Chester's lead, the town of Warrensburg is embarking on a project to erect various solar arrays to both save expenses and to minimize local government's carbon footprint.
The first phase of a solar generation project planned by local municipal government has received approval from the Adirondack Park Agency, town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty announced at the Dec. 11 monthly town board meeting.
Plans call for dozens of solar panels to be erected at the town sewer treatment plant off state Rte 418. Present plans call for the panels, set up along the state highway, to generate a total of 50,000 watts.
The town, however, may be seeking an increase in the power output to 100,000 watts after the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority doubled its maximum energy output restriction for installations, eligible for grants and credits, at non-profit entities.
A permit was required from the APA because of the proximity of the panels to the Schroon River, which is situated not far away on the other side of state Rte. 418.
Warrensburg is seeking to install more solar arrays at other town properties in future phases of the project, with an expectation of saving taxpayer dollars on utility costs while curbing the town’s carbon footprint.
Under a proposed agreement with a private firm, the solar arrays — which cost tens of thousands of dollars —will not cost taxpayers anything up front, but will be paid off over time through receiving a portion of the savings that accrue on utility costs.
In an agreement with a private enterprise, the town is guaranteed savings of 10 percent to 25 percent of its electricity expenses over the life of the contract, proposed to be 10 years.
In other business at the Dec. 11 meeting:
• The town board heard from Supervisor Geraghty that the state Department of Transportation has denied the town’s request for a crosswalk to be established on Richards Avenue. The walkway would have connected the new Warrensburg Health Center now being developed with an employee parking lot across the road where the former Econo-Quik Car Wash was once located. The state agency cited that there would not be enough pedestrian traffic across Richards Avenue to warrant the crosswalk.
• A letter was read from resident Anna Busser, citing concerns about how the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce has refused to accept non-commercial entities or individuals as members. Busser, a member of the Greater Warrensburg Business Alliance, has been actively advocating a sustainable local economy. Busser and the Alliance conducted the recent Buy Local Warrensburg campaign that was a resounding success.
Geraghty expressed concern that the Chamber was not inclusive in its membership policies.
“Considering that the Chamber receives public funding, we need to find out what’s going on and resolve this,” he said.
• Local resident James S. Hull, a former Warrensburg fire chief, was re-appointed to the town Board of Assessment Review, with a term beginning Oct. 1, 2013 and expiring Sept. 30, 2018. Robert F. Kladis was appointed as a post of Temporary/Alternate member of the same board for a one-year term beginning Oct. 1, 2013.
• The town’s annual organizational meeting was set for 7 p.m. Thursday Jan. 2, which features the swearing-in of new or re-elected town officials. A town board meeting was also scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Monday Dec. 30 to pay the final 2013 warrants and to conduct vital year-end business.
• A motion was approved to hire David F. Barrass of Corinth to provide surveying services at a cost of $1,800 in connection with the grant-funded project to rehabilitate the Floyd Bennett Memorial Bandstand, the town’s most prominent symbol.
• The board voted to sell outdated radio equipment used by the town’s highway, water and sewer departments, because the equipment is no longer compatible with current technology and the municipal frequencies specified by state authorities.
• A resolution was adopted to accept a transfer of a strip of land about 12 feet wide and 190 feet long beside the site of Hudson Headwater Health Network’s Warrensburg Health Center now under development. The strip is beside the Tucker building and allows access to the pharmacy drive-through window at the complex. Accepting the land is subject to a permissive referendum.
• Councilwoman Linda Marcella reported about the recent activities of the Warrensburg Economic Develpment Committee which she chairs, noting that results of a community survey focusing on the future of the town had been compiled by the group. She added that the panel was seeking to meet with regional economic development leader czar Ed Bartholomew to consult regarding strategies to boost local commerce. The next meeting of the group is set for Jan 16.
• Supervisor Geraghty announced that the Town of Warrensburg received a state grant award of $24,000 for an engineering study and report to evaluate potential upgrades to the town sewer plant to boost its capacity.
Although in the plant was nearing its capacity some time ago, recent upgrades have increased its potential output. Additionally, the mandated installation of water meters in town has cut water consumption by 30 percent or more, which has slashed wastewater flow into the plant due to local residents conserving their water use.
The board, however, intends to explore options to increase the plant’s capacity to accommodate potential commercial development within the water district. One such recent example has been the town’s contract to sell water and sewage services to the new Price Chopper plaza, now under construction just across the Schroon River in the town of Lake George, Geraghty said.
“We want to evaluate our wastewater plant operation and determine how we can enhance and improve it,” he said, citing the various advances in Warrensburg’s infrastructure that have been accomplished during 2013.
“We appreciate residents’ cooperation in allowing us to install water meters. We’ve experienced substantial progress this year in community, whether it has been the reconstruction of Main St., Hudson St., James St., Sanford St. or Woodward Avenue,” Geraghty continued. “And 2014 is another busy year for the townspeople, with the construction of the Warrensburg Health Center and the Price Chopper plaza off Prosser Road.”