Ever wonder how some municipalities seek new ways to save taxpayers money? Consider this approach from Hartford, Vt., as outlined in the Rutland Herald: Hartford will soon become the first Vermont municipality to hire a full-time energy coordinator. Town leaders think that could drastically reduce an annual energy bill of around $900,000.
That’s multiple millions during future decades.
Voters approved the budget that okayed the post and the position has been recently advertised with a salary of $47,300. Add fringe benefits and the total compensation would be between $55,000 to $65,000, said Town Manager Leo Pullar.
The ad says the person will be responsible for “energy consumption and overall costs, strengthening reliability, resiliency and sustainability of energy infrastructure, employing new technologies and best practices, contributing to a cleaner environment and enhancing the quality of life for Hartford residents and businesses.”
Pullar said he expects the person to join the town Planning and Development Department before Labor Day.
Pullar said he saw the value of dedicated energy coordinators while he was a U.S. Army administrator. “Our (Hartford) wastewater and water facilities are tremendous energy users (and) we hope the individual will bring down those energy costs.”
A five-year municipal Energy Action Plan Hartford published earlier this year recasts the town’s public services as a collection of energy-using facilities. The report documents that Hartford spends more than $200,000 a year on 70,000 gallons of gas and diesel to fuel 40-plus municipal vehicles such as police cruisers and plow trucks.
It spends another $130,000 on 50,000 gallons of heating oil and kerosene to heat buildings such as the Public Safety Complex and the Bugbee Senior Center.
More than $500,000 goes toward roughly 2,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity, the majority of which powers the town’s water and wastewater facilities.
In addition, the municipal government uses about 2 million gallons of water to supply everything from the fire station to the swimming pool.
Selectboard member Alan Johnson, who has been involved in a three-year push to make the position a reality, said the potential for savings is huge, especially when the Hartford School District’s $720,000 in energy expenditures is added into the mix.
For readers who don’t speak New Englandese, selectboard members are the equivalent of town board members in New York state.
Transforming an unused school building
Transforming the former Holley, N.Y., High School into senior apartments and village offices has been delayed after a state agency refused financing approval to assist the project.
“Home Leasing remains committed to the transformation of the former high school into quality affordable senior housing and updated Village of Holley offices,” Nelson Leenhouts, chairman and CEO of Home Leasing, told the Orleans Hub. “We will update our application and resubmit for the next funding round this fall.”
Home Leasing proposed a $17 million project at the former school, which has been vacant for about a decade. The company wants to create 41 mixed-income apartments for seniors, new village office space, and restore the auditorium for public events.
“Funding is critical for the project. Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty said that state officials select only one in three applications annually.
“While the delay is disappointing, we remain confident that this worthwhile plan will happen soon due to the strength of the development team, the overwhelming support of our residents, our elected officials and the Landmark Society,” Sorochty said.
The Landmark Society of Western New York has named the school one of its “Five to Revive.” That designation helped raise awareness in the Rochester region for the building.
A-E mentions the Holley school periodically because Greenwood has a huge school that has been vacant for half a decade. Hammondsport was able after several years and multiple false starts to find someone willing to rehabilitate the former Glenn H. Curtiss Middle School in the heart of that village.
Al Bruce writes a weekly column for The Evening Tribune.