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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 9, 2010

Westerlo to seek out solar power opportunities

By Zach Simeone

WESTERLO — Town Attorney Aline Galgay has been tasked with investigating an opportunity for free solar energy from the state.

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, the town board heard from Galgay that the New York Power Authority is offering free photovoltaic solar panels to schools and government buildings with distinct criteria for each: for public and private schools, the facility must have at least 40,000 square feet of roof space or one acre of open land; for government buildings, there must be at least 100,000 feet of roof space, or two acres of land.

Galgay said the property encompassing the newly acquired Westerlo School, which is to be renovated into the new town hall, may fit the bill. But, since it is being converted from a school to a government facility, the town will be subject to the latter criteria.

“We have that land,” Galgay told the board. “Why not use it to the town’s benefit?”

She asked for backing from the board to look into the program further, and the four board members present voted in favor of her request. Councilman R. Gregory Zeh was absent from the meeting.

The New York Power Authority requires access to the proposed property for screening, and will collect information such as the roof’s age, warranty, and structural diagrams, as well as site schematics, single-line electrical drawings, and geotechnical data, according to the organization’s website.

“You don’t generate income off the solar panel, but you generate a savings to the municipality,” Galgay told The Enterprise Wednesday night. “We have to find out what that savings would be.”

Those interested in proposing potential host sites for this project can read more and register at www.nypa.gov/solar/100mw/invitation.html.

Other business

In other business at its regular December meeting, the Westerlo Town Board:

— Passed a local law on dog licensing, as required by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’s abandoning its dog-licensing database as of Jan. 1, 2011 (see related story);

— Amended the resolution that established the geographic boundaries of Water District No. 1;

— Heard from Galgay that she has collected all known local laws, and they are available for review in her office;

— Agreed to the formation of a Community Activity Committee, which would be composed of volunteers who would explore ideas for activities within the town. An organizational meeting for the committee has not yet been scheduled;

— Scheduled its meeting to pay its yearly bills for Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 7:30 p.m.; and

— After learning that Berne’s Little League team wanted to advertise on the town website, agreed that Councilman Edward Rash and Galgay would work together on a policy for announcements on the town website by groups from other towns.

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