By Matthew Reitz
A solar power leasing program that would provide the Hannibal Town Hall with electricity was again discussed at length in this month’s town board meeting, with Supervisor Ron Greenleaf urging the board to take action on the opportunity.
Greenleaf said CNY Solar had come in with a lower price after Councilman George Ritchie asked them last month to “sharpen their pencil.” The new price was a half-cent lower per kilowatt hour, which Greenleaf said made quite a difference.
“It’s considerable if you look at the overall savings,” Greenleaf said. “We really need to think about whether we want to do this or not before it goes away.”
Ritchie told Greenleaf he had spoken with Hannibal schools Superintendent Donna Fountain who had expressed interest in learning more about the program. Ritchie said he set up a meeting with representatives from the schools to discuss the possibility of including the district in the project.
“She told me that the school is very much interested in this,” Ritchie said. “I think if we can get the school involved with us, and we can get the fire department involved with us, we can lower the dollar amount.”
Ritchie also said he would “like to see the town look into purchasing a system” because that had the potential to save “a whole lot of money.”
Judge Jack Beckwith reiterated Ritchie’s thoughts. Beckwith said the town has access to low-interest loans that could make purchasing a system more beneficial. Gary Thompson, a candidate for town council, said there were several grants available that could help offset the costs of a system, as well. Thompson said the Town of Floyd purchased a system last year and received grants from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the New York Sun Initiative, and a competitive capital improvement project that left the town with minimal costs.
“I spoke with the Town Supervisor Willard Streiff and he is completely happy with it,” Thompson said. “They don’t pay anything for electricity and anything extra they produce they capitalize on.”
Greenleaf said he had begun looking into the purchase of a system and discovered that the town could be eligible for grants from NYSERDA and the USDA Rural Energy for America program, but he expressed some concern over stalling the process any further.
“If we keep waiting it could go away,” Greenleaf said.
The board agreed to revisit the project after speaking with the school district and the fire department.
The board also discussed the town’s updated dog control and zoning laws, a request for a speed limit on Mill Street and approved funding for a recreation program in the town. It also appointed two alternates to the planning board and zoning board of appeals.
Greenleaf told the board the updates made last month to the town’s dog control and zoning laws had to undergo some slight revisions. He said he discovered the laws could not be approved together and must each be adopted separately before they can be sent to the state.
“Before we sent them in to the state we found out we need to do each one separately,” Greenleaf said. The board then unanimously agreed to adopt each of the dog control laws.
Greenleaf said the town’s lawyers had also identified some “improper wording” in the zoning law which needed to be revised.
The new Article 18 is an addition to the town’s zoning laws that will regulate dog facilities. The law sets forth definitions of dog breeding, boarding and sheltering facilities. All three types of facilities will require a special permit to operate in the town. Permits will need to be renewed each year, and the law stipulates owners and operators must allow inspections of the facilities “at any time it is occupied or open for business.”
The law stipulates the size and type of enclosures that can be used, mandatory daily cleaning of facilities, and that all dogs are provided adequate food and water. Facilities are also obligated to provide all dogs with veterinary care and must adhere to heating, cooling and ventilation standards. The law may have an impact on residents who aren’t operating a facility, as any property housing three or more unspayed female dogs will be considered a dog breeding facility and therefore must follow the law in its entirety.
Residents Gary and Rebecca Jeffery sent a letter to the town board requesting a speed limit of no more than 35 mph at the end of Mill Street near Blythe Road. The letter stated that the speed limit would “provide safety to their neighbors and fellow residents,” and mentioned that “many children including the Hannibal track team and school buses frequently use Mill Street.”
The road is currently unposted and carries a 55 mph speed limit. Greenleaf said in the past the board hasn’t acted on such requests until it receives a written petition seeking the change, and it was “up to the board” if it wanted to take any action. Councilman Randy Hendricks said he “would like to see more signatures,” and Greenleaf said he would let the Jeffreys know that.
Representatives of the Hannibal Recreation Program, which Greenleaf said was run through AmeriCorps, asked the board for $200 to help fund programming that focuses on teaching children about health and nutrition. Greenleaf said the town had the money to fund the program and had done so in the past. He also told the board that this program “didn’t just squander” the funds, and has typically returned any unspent money to the town. The board unanimously approved the $200 in funds the program was seeking.
The board received requests from David Eamer and Charles Fadden, who each wished to be considered as alternates for the town’s planning board and zoning board of appeals. Greenleaf suggested the town appoint them, as both boards are in need of alternates. The town board unanimously approved Eamer and Fadden as alternates. Ritchie and Greenleaf asked that anyone else who is interested please notify the board.