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Ashford starts process to become clean energy community

ASHFORD—The Ashford Town Board completed some of the preliminary steps in the process of getting grant money from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority at their meeting March 8.

NYSERDA Clean Energy Community Coordinator John Mayr made a presentation to the board about what the town would need to do in order to be certified as a New York State Clean Energy Community and receive a match-free $50,000 grant to be used toward any energy efficiency project. To be certified, the town would have to complete four out of 10 high impact action items that the state is hoping all towns and villages will work toward.

“This is something that is easy to do, easily assessable and something I can help the town get through in a rapid fashion,” Mayr said.

Mayr, Councilman Richard Bernstein and Code Enforcement Officer Larry Feldman discussed which action item would be the quickest and best route for the town to become certified.

The first was to benchmark municipally owned buildings over 1,000 square feet. The town would create a report through NYSERDA about energy usage within those buildings and post a link to the report on the town web site.

The second item that town was going to pursue is the adoption of the New York State Unified Solar Permit. The action is meant to streamline solar permitting in the town, while also providing protection to first responders. The permit requires an external kill and drain for the solar panel to be put on a specific corner of the house to save the time of searching and provide protection against electrocution.

“One of the problems is that when first responders get to a house fire, the first thing they want to do is vent the ceiling and they are getting electrocuted by solar panels,” Mayr said. “When a response unit comes up to a house fire and see solar on your roof, they know there is a kill switch right here and it has to be right here … if you have no regulations, there is nothing to say you have to have any of this.”

The final action items the board is looking to start are energy code enforcement training and the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in town. Following Mayr’s presentation, the board adopted the needed resolutions and approved the purchase of the two charging stations to start the process of making Ashford a clean energy community.

In other board news:

- Supervisor Charles Davis announced that the town received a grant that will be used to restore the West Valley Hotel.

- The board approved a bid of $10,794 from MRC Disposal for the annual trash and refuse removal. Residents are to have trash out by April 30 and pickup will start on May 1. Tire pickup will be on May 6.

- Karl Kalbacher of the Ferguson Group was asked to make a presentation to the board about their ideas and plans to help put the town in better position to get funding. The

Ferguson Group made a proposal to the town for their services and the board will make a decision on the proposal at the next meeting.

The next Ashford Town Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ashford Community Center, located at 9377 Route 240, in West Valley.

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