Both articles passed last night at the Special Town Meeting (STM) by overwhelming majorities, that were with one close to being unanimous, and with the other was unanimous. The public safety building must still get a majority vote at the regular municipal election next Monday, March 30, to proceed.
The first STM vote, to fund the $700,000 construction costs of a money making solar photovoltaic installation behind the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP), was unanimous. As soon as the town’s new Energy and Facilities Manager, Andrew Seaman, who was presenting on behalf of the Energy Committee, mentioned that the array will be revenue positive starting in its first year, the Moderator jokingly interrupted to call for a fast vote. The presentation may have continued, but the wisdom of a money making project was clear in the unanimity of the ultimate vote. The array is projected to save the town $726,509 in electricity charges at the WWTP over 20 years.
Conversations with Energy Committee member Fred Davis after the meeting disclosed that the MEC’s solar consultant is already recommending to the town to proceed as fast as possible with other installations before the state subsidies for solar end in the next couple of years, which will change the economics dramatically. The roof of the Highway Garage has already been recommended, but the old landfill is also being eyed. Few old landfills remain without solar arrays, and there is even grant money to support such an installation. Medfield never properly closed the landfill, so the closure may need to be revisited, but the economics may still make the project attractive.
Vote 2 to fund the almost $19m. construction costs of a new public safety building seemed to find the vast majority of attendees grudgingly, if realistically accepting of the need for us to pay more in property taxes to allow for the new building. This observer guesses that perhaps 20-40 people voted against proceeding. There is no disagreement over the inadequacy of the old facility, and only minor issues verbalized over the size and scope of the new building and the lack of options presented.
Selectmen meet again this evening, to hear from all three of our legislators.