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Porter moving on solar panels

by niagarau
Fri, Mar 23rd 2012 05:00 pm

Town equalization rate at 95 percent

by Terry Duffy

News from the Porter Town Board regular session this month finds the town has opted to pursue alternative energy development in lieu of wind energy turbines that had been eyed earlier for up to three locations.

This week, the town began reviewing bids to cover installation of solar panels, which would be ground-mounted at Town Hall on Creek Road and installed on the roof of the town Highway Department garage on Braley Road. Town Engineer Dave Britton reported the units include a 25 kilowatt ground-mounted system for the Town Hall site and a 35-kw system for the Highway Garage.

They replace wind energy turbines that had once had been eyed by Porter for the Town Hall site, the highway garage and a location on Balmer Road across from CWM Chemical Services LLC. Due to various reasons, including opposition by town residents at two locations and concerns from the U.S. Army Corps on their suitability at another, all three proposals were scrapped in favor of the solar panels alternative. Currently, the town is seeking permit extensions and modifying grant applications totaling $320,000 in grant funding with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which had previously approved the wind energy turbines plan. Also under way is a brief State Environmental Quality Review of both locations to enable the town to approve negative declarations for both sites.

Once approved by NYSERDA and finalized, installation of the solar panels both would likely start this spring or summer.

In other news:

•Resident Rita Wingo of Youngstown Lockport Road approached the board during community comments at its March 12 session and requested action be taken against a neighbor who has accumulated various junk items, including vehicles, and has stored them on his property in the front, rear and sides. "This has been going on for 30 years," the resident told board members. "I'm tired of this. I can't sell my house and there's been no response by the town."

Town Supervisor Mert Wiepert, Town Attorney Mike Dowd and board members were all in agreement with the resident that action needed to be taken. Dowd said the court had been made aware of the problems, corrective measures had been taken earlier, but more still needed to be done.

"The town needs to take this matter in its own hands," said Councilman Joe Fleckenstein, who suggested Wiepert draft a letter to the court further expressing its concerns. Dowd suggested the resident also appear in person and voice her displeasure at the March 28 Town Court session that will be reviewing the matter. Fleckenstein went a step further and suggested the town hire a contractor and clean up the mess itself.

Town officials did promise Wingo that they would stay on top of the matter.

•Town Grant Writer Bernie Rotella reported he is pursuing a Greenway ad hoc $150,000 grant application for new playground equipment at Porter on the Lake Town Park. An application was submitted this week and a Greenway ad hoc determination is expected in May.

•The town assessor's office reported that computer updating of the 2012 tentative assessment roll of properties in the town is now under way. The town's equalization rate for assessments of properties is expected to be at 95 percent for the year and notices will be mailed out shortly.

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