Town reports water/ sewer, electrical savingsBy Mike Berger
Selectmen received good financial news on many fronts Tuesday night with word that the town is getting a large grant and a pair of interest-free loans from the Mass. Water Resources Authority while also realizing a significant energy savings from the Pine Street solar facility.
The only bit of negative news involved the town’s disbursement of Chapter 90 roadway funds as the governor has yet to release some $400,000 (part of a $100 million increase approved in the FY14 state budget).
Finance Director Jim Murgia said the two MWRA loans are for rehabilitation of the Tolman Street water tank ($1.09 million) and sewer inflow and infiltration work ($566,000). The town was also awarded an additional grant from the MWRA in the amount of $463,500 that will go toward inflow and infiltration work.
Murgia and selectmen praised the efforts of DPW Superintendent Mike Trotta and Town Engineer Jim Donovan, who applied for the loans and grant. With the two loans, Murgia said the town will not have to pay interest rates of between 3 and 4 percent and will save residents money in the long run with lower water and sewer rates.
Town Administrator Bill Friel also informed selectmen that the owner of the solar farm, Southern Sky Renewable Energy, has been on time with its lease payments after nearly a year of operation. Southern Sky signed a 20-year agreement that pays the town between $300,000 and $430,000 per year. Friel said the town has also saved $41,000 in electricity costs through a separate 20-year net-metering agreement, whereby the town purchases credits that are generated when the solar panels produce electricity.
Regarding the Chapter 90 money, the state had originally committed a little more than $1 million in road repair funds, but Friel and Murgia said the latest budget figures show the town receiving $770,320 with the remainder being held by the state. The town has already committed money to repave Chapman Street from Spaulding to Neponset Street, Jackson Street, Beaumont Street, Woodlock and Shawnlee roads, the parking lot at the DPW garage on Bolivar Street, and Legion, Beatty, May and Porter streets.
Friel said selectmen will decide whether the DPW will resurface Pleasant Street to Reservoir Pond or from Devoll Field to the Stoughton town line. He said there is enough money to do one of the projects but not both until the governor releases the additional $400,000 to the town.
In other news, Friel announced that the building lot at 35 Turnpike Street (near Sassamon Street) is now in the control of the town through a foreclosure and Probate Court action. The town will go through an auction process in late September. Friel said the property is assessed at $390,000 and two houses could be built on the land. The town has hired a private contractor to clean up the interior and exterior of the property and will remove junk vehicles. An auction date and initial bidding price will be announced. Friel said the town is owed $273,000 in back taxes and will keep the auction proceeds.
In other news:
* Selectman John Connolly announced the retirement of NStar liaison Barry Salvucci.
* Selectmen received a letter from Fire Chief Charlie Doody thanking Interstate Wrecking Service for helping to get two fire engines back to the station. The engines are now in good working order. Doody said that Interstate Wrecking is a good neighbor to the Fire Department as both are located on Revere Street.
* Selectmen will next meet on Tuesday, August 13, at 7 p.m. and will formally announce the members of the Reservoir Pond Advisory Committee. Selectmen were due to announce the appointments Tuesday night but decided to delay it another week until Selectman Bob Burr returns.
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