Town looks to negotiate solar programs and expand water system to school

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TOWN OF HOOSICK, N.Y. >> On the April 11 Town of Hoosick board meeting, it was apparent that progress is being made in the areas of solar energy, water contamination and distribution and support for volunteer firefighters.

Solar

Deputy Supervisor Jeff Wysocki revealed that a presentation would not be made from the solar committee due to a wait on a state report about unified zoning. Wysocki said the report was supposed to be unveiled in March. The solar committee was due to present its findings on the benefits of solar energy for April.

"We're waiting for that [the report] to see where we fit in with all that," he said. "The committee is still working."

He added that two preliminary progress reports have been made.

Meeting minutes have not been posted from the past two meetings for the solar committee. The solar committee meets every first Wednesday of the month.

Resident Kevin Allard suggested payment of taxes from the proposed solar PILOT program should be dedicated to a recreation fund for children.

"I'd like to consider doing a PILOT program in which solar farms that have a direct positive impact on the Town of Hoosick," he said acknowledging Wysocki's farm that is offsetting the school's energy costs. The solar farm that's going up on Route 22, doesn't have the same impact. Do something like $100 per acre for something like Mr. Wysocki, but for something that doesn't have a direct impact do like $250 an acre."

A motion was made to allow Attorney John Schopf to draft a proposal to enter into negotiations on the town's behalf to set up a PILOT program for the commercial solar farms in town.

Councilman Eric Sheffer suggested building pilot ideas by utilizing non-vested companies and without using already established applications.

"It's been brought to my attention both within the town and outside of the town that there's some pretty big growing pains of these ongoing projects," Sheffer said. "We should reach out to see where these projects are at before we spend any money trying to negotiate anything."

On May 3 at 6 p.m., Brighten Energy solar company will visit the Town Hall to discuss community solar and pilot programs.

Water

Supervisor Mark Surdam spoke with Mayor David Borge, the Village Water Department and the Engineering Firm MRB to delve into the idea to expand the Municipal Water & Sewer into the town. This is the result of many conversations about the PFOA contamination.

Hoosick Falls school Superintendent Kenneth Facin suggested having water and sewer coming south to the school, according to Surdam's report

Further conversation was conducted between Surdam, Mayor Borge and the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), the NYS Bureau of Water Supply Protection and Design Engineer Michael Montysko.

Mayor Borge addressed infrastructure issues in the village that were created and discovered during PFOA flushing process.

"There are options for getting some money. Probably, most likely a combination of grants and either low interest or zero interest loans," Mark Surdam said. "It comes to a point where we vote to spend money to do a study, I imagine that would be reimbursable money."

"I think this is something good that can happen for us," Sutton said. "Would it involve theoretically sidewalks down at the school as well? We're looking into it."

A motion was approved by the board in order for Dave Sutton to work with the Village of Hoosick Falls and get more information on growing the distribution of the municipal water system into a reasonable distance, i.e. south on Route 22 to the Hoosick Falls Central School.

Fire

On April 23 the North Hoosick Fire Department will host an open house to allow the public to view the apparatus, equipment and facility. There will be 911 reflective signs for sale, 50 smoke detectors will be given away and there will be fire extinguishers available as a door prize.

On the same day, the Village of Hoosick Falls Fire Department will have an open house on Griffin Ave. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

These events are in recognition of the Firemen's Association of the State of New York (FASNY) "Recruit NY 2016" initiative to bring in more volunteers.

The North Hoosick department, like many volunteer facilities, utilize a service reward program. Points are gained by a volunteer for participating in training, drills, fire calls, etc. These points are exchanged into money or retirement benefits. The 2015 points earned form has been completed and was approved by the board.

Additionally, Resolution No. 54, 2016 Protection District was approved to adopt the updated plan document prepared by Penflex Inc. This sets trust in which assets accumulated by the town are held for payment of the Service Reward Program Benefits.

Events

In an effort to recover from the water crisis, the Community Celebration Committee has planned an Earth Day event at Brown's Brewing Company at the Walloomsac facility (50 Factory Hill Road, Hoosick Falls, N.Y.). The band "Flood Road" will play on April 22 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Admission cost $10 and includes a brewery tour, a pint of beer and samples of new menu items. Proceeds will benefit local watershed protection through the Rensselaer Land Trust. The event is sponsored by "I Heart Hoosick" to kick-off their season of events and recognize and thank all involved in making Hoosick Falls' water safe again. Free sunflower seeds will be available.

Brown's is committed to sustainable infrastructure and practices by using solar energy, LED light bulbs, reduced cooling needs due to geography, hydroelectric energy, aerobic water digestion system, by using local and ingredients and also by giving spend grains and yeast to local farmers to be repurposed.

Love Your Village clean up day will happen on May 7 from 9 a.m. to noon in partnership with St. Gobain. More information on this can be found at hayc3.org.

The Town Board meets every second Monday night of the month at 7 p.m. For more information visit townofhoosick.org.

—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.


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