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Town to compete for clean energy grants

JULIE LANE PHOTO Clean Energy Community Coordinator William Achnitz told the Town Board Tuesday how to compete for what could be as much as a $100,000 non-matching grant.

Clean Energy Communities Coordinator William Achnitz told the Town Board Tuesday how to compete for what could be as much as a $100,000 non-matching grant.

It’s highly competitive, but with quick action, Shelter Island would have a chance to qualify for a New York State grant of up to $100,000 by being named a “Clean Energy Community,”
“There’s much more competition in the small communities than the large communities, Clean Energy Communities Coordinator William Achnitz told the Town Board at its work session Tuesday.

Other communities, including neighboring Southold, are already ahead of Shelter Island in the effort to meet four requirements for the 14 available grants. The first community to qualify would receive $100,000. With 14 such non-matching grants available, other communities could receive $50,000 grants.

Shelter Island has already completed the first step, which is to complete a standardized application to streamline the approval process for installing solar energy in the community.

Step two is under way here with putting together an annual report of energy use in town-owned buildings.

Mr. Achnitz is assisting Tim Purtell, chairman of the town’s Green Options Committee, and committee member Quinn Karpeh in developing that report.

To receive credit, the town must submit a copy of adopted legislation requiring that information on the town’s efforts to reduce energy consumption be provided to the public annually on its website.

The report needs to list energy use for each town-owned building that is at least 1,000 square feet in size. Mr. Purtell and Mr. Karpeh will report to the Town Board on the status of that step at the December 6 work session and explain what needs to be done.

Step three is to set up training for three town officials, including one from the Building Department and others involved in working on improving energy consumption.

The training will enable the officials to understand the energy code and how it can be implemented at active construction projects.

The final step involves investing in alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure. Mr. Karpeh said leasing an energy efficient vehicle for the school traffic officer who currently drives an SUV and getting an energy efficient vehicle for the building department could meet that fourth requirement.

What happens if the town competes, but fails to win a grant, Councilman Paul Shepherd wanted to know.

Beyond money, becoming more energy efficient is “a great thing to do,” Mr. Achnitz said. “It’s the right thing to do; you do it because it makes sense,” he said.

In other business:

• Supervisor Jim Dougherty announced that the Insurance Service Office that does an assessment every five years of how well the town is enforcing its codes is expected to increase the town rating.

The result would be a decrease homeowners would have to pay for their home insurance premiums.
• The supervisor announced that PSEG will be installing 155 new poles on the northern end of the Island and 50 on the southern end that will replace existing poles and reduce outages caused by stormy weather.

• Heard from Don Bindler about the need for the town to charge fees for those businesses operating on Crescent Beach, both to generate revenues, but also to assure they are properly insured so the town has no liability for any accidents or problems that such operations may have.

He pointed out that there are paddle boat and massage businesses operating there during t he summer months and the town needs to regulate them and protect itself from any lawsuits that could be costly.

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