Defers solar decision
Oxford - Board Chairman John Saad began the August 7 selectmen meeting by asking for moments of silence for the victims of the recent terrible family tragedy in Oxford as well as for Mr. John P. Brassard, a former town employee who had been Deputy Director of Operations for the Civil Defense Dept.
Town Treasurer Claire Wilson and Clark Rowell from Unibank Advisory Services gave a presentation regarding long-term borrowing for the Middle School roof, resulting in the board voting to accept the summary of borrowing for the bonds and signing off on them. Ms. Wilson and Mr. Rowell noted that due to early payoff of the last bond, a savings of $850,000 was passed on to property owners through the tax levy. Mr. Rowell further stated that the town’s Moody rating was AA3. Oxford voters had authorized the $2,506,300.22 cost for the Oxford Middle School renovation project at the May 4, 2011 Town Meeting. The total 2012 bonds of the town were awarded to BOSC, Inc. in the amount of $3,931,532.25. Board members present were: John Saad, Chairman; Dennis Lamarche; Michael Voas, and Jennie Caissie. Henry Lamountain was absent.
Robert Babcock of EPG Solar, LLC then came before the board to present a solar farm leasing option to the town. He explained the advantages of having a solar-panel farm for Oxford, including the reduction of electric utility bills through the use of net metering credits. These credits are sold back to National Grid at a direct savings which are in turn used to reduce electric billings. Town Manager Joseph Zeneski stated that up to $200,000 could be saved annually if the system were up and running at full capacity. EPG would lease a town-owned parcel of land in the industrial park, install and maintain the solar-panel equipment, and then sell the net metering credits created by solar energy back to National Grid on the town’s behalf. The equipment would also be real-time monitored by National Grid, ensuring the system’s security. Mr. Babcock had been in close contact with Mr. Zeneski and Oxford town counsel prior to tonight’s meeting, refining and amending the initial agreement which was for an “option to lease” the land available. This one-year option would allow time for the permitting process, design, construction, and feasibility of the solar project.
Following a successful outcome of the option lease period, a 20-year contract would then be reviewed and acted upon. During the option segment, Oxford would receive a $5,000/monthly lease payment. Chairman Saad stated that he “felt comfortable acting upon the lease option based on Mr. Zeneski’s research and town counsel’s review. Let’s save the town money,” he said. Selectmen Voas and Lamarche concurred; however, Selectwoman Caissie voiced her opinion of “not wanting to sign the option lease without a personal review of same.” She wanted to hold off until the next meeting, in two weeks. Chairman Saad replied that he was in agreement and the Board decided upon further review. Mr. Babcock then professed his disappointment and held a check in the air stating: “I was ready to hand you this $5,000 check tonight. My company is having a meeting tomorrow that was based on a successful outcome of tonight’s presentation.” The Board then agreed that they looked positively upon the EPG project but further lease option review was needed.
After board agreement, Mr. Zeneski confirmed that he would have a “favorable expected outcome” letter for Mr. Babcock ready by the next morning if that would help Mr. Babcock at his meeting. The board was then thanked by Mr. Babcock, who departed the meeting room. A short time later, at meeting’s end, Mr. Babcock returned to address the board, was allowed to speak, and then notified the board that he was just informed his next-day meeting was cancelled as its basis was predicated upon the Oxford lease option signing. The board stood together on their need for further review and Mr. Babcock departed a second time.
In other business, the board allowed the chairman to sign transfer paperwork for the resignation of Police Officer Paul McCarthy from Oxford to Marlborough, allowed the chairman to sign a Civil Service requisition for appointment of one or more full-time police officers, reappointed Ms. Diane Kaminski as an Election Worker in Precinct II due to her new address, and granted an outdoor business permit request (with fee to be waived) to the Police Department’s Outdoor Flea Market to be held on Sat., 9/15, (rain date: Sat., 9/22) from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. adjacent to the Police Department at 503 Main Street. The board also took under advisement a request to allow participation in Public Works Mutual Aid, which entails the sending/receiving of equipment and/or manpower to other participating cities and towns in times of need. Mr. Zeneski will contact towns who have committed to the participation and return to the board with his findings.
Manager Zeneski then advised the Board regarding a Proclamation for the Bandstand’s 25th Anniversary 2012 Concert Schedule and made public announcements about the Audio Journal, Inc. now being the voice-over on local cable access Channel 12 (Audio Journal is a non-profit radio/cable/online broadcast service that speaks printed material to those who are blind or visually impaired), and also announced a reminder about the State Primary to be held on Thurs., 9/6, with polls open from 7am-8pm. Additionally, it was noted that Thurs., 10/4, was voting day for the Bay Path Building Renovation Product with polls open from 7am-8pm.
An announcement was also made by Selectman Voas regarding the 3rd Annual Golf Tournament to benefit the 300th Oxford Anniversary and Selectwoman Caissie praised the Oxford Little League for their great sports abilities allowing them to make the playoff trip to New Jersey this year.
- Friday, 10 August 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News