Jean Perry, Neighb News Correspondent
During the Selectboard’s 3/22/21 meeting, Interim Town Administrtor Wendy Graves told the board to hold off on closing and signing the Annual Town Meeting Warrant after the meeting was postponed to June 12. This has also led to a revision to the FY22 budget and Town Meeting calendar, making the new deadline for citizens’ petitions April 16.
Also during the meeting, Selectboard member Bob Espindola said he has been participating in negotiating a host community agreement with Elevation Retail, a potential new recreational adult-use cannabis dispensary slated for the corner of Alden Road and Bridge Street. He said a draft agreement would be reviewed with town counsel the following day.
Mr. Espindola also mentioned a recent webinar on the town’s plan for its own fiber-optic system was well attended, and a second webinar would be scheduled some time closer to the Annual Town Meeting. He said there would also be some lawn signs available that read “Own your internet” for anyone interested.
In another matter, Matt Shortsleeve from Solect Energy gave a brief overview of two new solar array and energy storage projects planned for Hastings Middle School and the Council on Aging/Recreation Center parking lot.
At HMS, areas on the roof that were inspected and deemed appropriate will feature solar panels accompanied by a battery storage system on the ground. Areas of the COA/Rec Center parking lot will feature a solar canopy above parking rows and connect directly to the grid to provide the town with utility bill credits.
Mr. Shortsleeve said the town’s financial incentive would be around $1 million. The board approved signing a letter of intent and letter of consent for both projects. Town Meeting voters will have to authorize the lease before the project can break ground.
In other news, the board voted to follow Veterans Agent Bradford Fish’s informed recommendation to cancel the Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades and hold online virtual observations as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Mr. Fish and the board remain hopeful that the Veteran’s Day parade in November will be held as a traditional parade once again.
Mr. Fish said the annual flagging of veterans’ graves will still take place in the weeks leading to Memorial Day.
If the parade can be held in person in November, Mr. Espindola commented, it will likely be “one heck of a parade.”
Mr. Espindola suggested the town needs a strategic plan for its town and school cable enterprise budgets and retained earnings accounts as deposits to those retained earnings accounts decreased in size.
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