D-F selectmen choose solar consultant
DOVER-FOXCROFT — With new legislation providing opportunities for municipal solar initiatives, such as federal tax credits and rebates, the Dover-Foxcroft selectmen approved the issuing of a request for qualifications for consulting services for such a project. During a Sept. 23 meeting the board opted to work with ReVision Energy to develop a solar plan.
“We have been talking about opportunities for solar and hope to have a consultant on board to basically develop a municipal solar project or more than one,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said.
He said a week prior qualifications for consultants from ReVision Energy and Sundog Solar were each reviewed. “We did invite a third company but didn’t get a response,” the town manager said.
Clukey, Select Chair Elwood Edgerly and board member Gail D’Agostino went through the materials from ReVision Energy and Sundog Solar.
D’Agostino said the ReVision Energy materials were very specific to Dover-Foxcroft. She said the document said the Mayo Regional Hospital campus would not be ideal location panels but the Morton Avenue Municipal Building very well could be.
“I thought the qualifications for ReVision were just better,” Edgerly said.
“The next step would be to sit down and come up with some concept details,” Clukey said. “Something more along the lines of a proposal.”
The town manager, Edgerly and D’Agostino will work with ReVision Energy on these plans to bring something back to the full board. Selectman Steve Grammont, who said he is off the grid at this home, will join them.
Rep. Norm Higgins, I-Dover-Foxcroft said he has worked with both ReVision Energy and Sundog Solar before. He said around town the Dover-Foxcroft Congregational Church is looking at a solar installation to help reach a goal of becoming carbon neutral, and the new indoor sports complex at Foxcroft Academy could have a 300,000 kilowatt setup.
“I think we are seeing a lot moving in that direction,” Higgins said.
In other business, the selectmen approved spending $115,000 on repairs for the fire department 1975 American LaFrance Aerial Ladder truck to keep the vehicle operational.
Clukey said the previous week the board’s protection committee met with members of the fire department and “they have spent a fair amount of time checking out that ladder truck and figuring out what the issues are.”
Fire Chief Joe Guyotte said problems were discovered when conducting an oil change and finding antifreeze in this compartment. He said a mechanic was called in and he recommended replacing the oil and getting the ladder truck to East Coast Service Center in Casco for a thorough review by the fire apparatus specialist.
East Coast Service Center has a proposal totaling $112,000-plus. The scope of work includes removing and replacing the engine with a remanufactured unit, overhauling the transmission, installing LED lights, work to the pump transfer case, various corrosion repairs and other fixes.
The department purchased the truck in late 2014 from a Detroit, Michigan-base department. “We got a good deal on it when we got it,” Guyotte said. He said a new vehicle costs around $1 million.
“I was at the meeting the other night, and I think it’s a good price given what the alternative is,” D’Agostino said.
Finance Director Dave Johnson said $115,000 would be earmarked for the ladder truck repairs. He said the monies would come from the fire department maintenance and repair budget.
Selectman Scott Taylor asked when the vehicle could be back in service.
“Late November, first of December,” Guyotte replied.
Grammont said five days prior the land use ordinance committee met to begin the process for devising amendments to the ordinance on marijuana regulations, including retail operations.
He said the recommendation is to do nothing at the moment as communities opt in to allowing retail marijuana establishments and there are some court challenges pending. “We should let things settle first before jumping in,” Grammont said. “Those kind of things are happening in other towns.”
“I think where we’re heading with this is to try to get some performance standards for growing,” Grammont said, such as regulations on 24-hour grow lights and odors.
“I think the committee’s instincts to wait until things sift out is smart,” Select Vice Chair Cindy Freeman Cyr said.
In his report Clukey said, “We had a really nice turnout for the traffic study kickoff meeting last Thursday night.” He said nearly 40 attendees were there and provided helpful comments on walkability, driveability, signage and other concerns.
A work plan for downtown traffic improvements with preliminary recommendations is due in March and a second public meeting will take place in the spring prior to recommendations being finalized.
“That’s all expected to be completed in April of 2020 and I think we are off to a good start,” Clukey said.
The town manager also reported the previous Thursday (Sept. 19) a public hearing on the certificate of need for the proposed Mayo Regional Hospital/Northern Light Health was held at the Center Theatre. He said the session started at 11 a.m. and comments finished about two and a half hours later.
Clukey said hearing testimony was overwhelmingly supportive of the merger. If approved, the hospital could join the statewide healthcare system during the first quarter of 2020.
“I think nothing can happen from that process for 60 days,” Clukey said about post-hearing developments. He said written comments can still be submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services through Oct. 19.