Meetings held Dec. 27 and Jan. 3
By Michael Turton
Representatives from Renewable Highlands addressed the Village Board for the second time in six weeks, again promoting an energy-purchasing program that it says could save residents five to 10 percent on their monthly electrical bill.
If the village joins the Renewable Highlands’ “Community Choice Aggregation” as other municipalities in Putnam and Dutchess counties have done, the nonprofit organization would shop for the cheapest electricity available on the market and pass any savings to its members. All billing would continue to be through Central Hudson.
A number of other municipalities, including Philipstown, Beacon, Fishkill and Wappinger Falls, are considering joining the program. Michael Rauch of Renewable Highlands noted that potential savings increase with larger enrollment. In Westchester County, where 20 municipalities opted into the program, residents have seen a 17 percent decrease in electrical costs.
The Village Board would have to pass a law to join the program. Rauch said the law does not bind the village but is a mandatory step required by the New York State Public Service Commission, which oversees the program. After the law is passed a public hearing must be held before the board can vote on whether to opt in. Village Attorney John Furst is reviewing a version of the law used in other municipalities.
Renewable Highlands promotes the use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. The village can choose to purchase electricity exclusively from renewable sources or it can purchase the cheapest electricity regardless of the source. All residents and small businesses would be included in the program but could opt out.
In other business, trustees authorized Mayor Dave Merandy to sign a contract for the sale of a narrow strip of village-owned land in front of 178 Main St. The owners agreed to purchase the 0.013-acre parcel for $1,081. The transaction was part of the reconstruction of the former Preusser Realty building, soon to become the home of River Architects. At the meeting, the board also received a request for a similar sale of village-owned land at 26 Garden St.
Jan. 3 meeting
Trustees approved a request by the owners of Hudson Hils’ Cafe on Main Street to waive its right to a 30-day hold on their application for an on-premises liquor license. The restaurant has a wine license.
Board members approved a request by East National Water to extend the deadline for the installation of digital water meters in Cold Spring and Nelsonville to March 17. A dispute over a requirement to use certified Putnam County plumbers to install the meters put the project behind schedule.
Deputy Mayor Marie Early reported that Carolyn Bachan has resigned from the Code Update Committee. Early said that the resignation is due to an increased workload on the Historic District Review Board, on which Bachan also serves.
Early reported that the pay station at the municipal parking lot on Fair Street grossed $15,000 in fees from June through December, an amount she described as “far beyond expectations.” Village officials had estimated the station would take in $5,000 during that period.