By MADELINE HUGHES
The New Library and Town Center Project Committee suggested early in the planning process that the library be equipped with solar panels. On Tuesday night, the selectboard took the committee’s recommendation and chose to contract with Shelburne-based Bullrock Solar.
The solar panels on the library will generate almost enough electricity to power the building all year, committee chair Cathy Townsend explained. The town chose to contract out for the service instead of buying its own solar arrays because of the upfront costs to purchase the panels and maintenance cost over their lifetime.
When the request for a proposal went out, six solar firms responded. Town manager Lee Krohn said that the two firms interviewed by the committee were the only two that offered to sell the town power offsite solar arrays up to the limit 500 kw to other municipal buildings,.
Townsend said she hoped the decision to include solar on the new library will influence other town departments to use renewable energy wherever they can.
“The town energy cost for electricity is about $250,000 per year,” she said. “Bullrock Solar forecasts a savings of at least $17,000 per year for the next 25 years. That’s almost a half million dollars (over the 25-year contract)! I hope this will encourage other town departments, local businesses, and the Town of Shelburne to think of creative renewable energy possibilities for the future.”
Tuesday’s selectboard meeting marked Dr. Josh Dein’s last regular meeting of his three-year term. His fellow board members Jerry Storey and Mary Kehoe thanked him for his service during their meeting comments.
Half a dozen Shelburne residents also thanked him for his tenure on the board.
Chris Boyd joked Dein’s three years “seems like a lifetime, doesn’t it?”
The crowd laughed. Boyd and others thanked Dein for his “courage” and ability to stick through the tough times.
In 2017, members of the selectboard took issue with Dein’s conduct regarding the project by Vermont Railway to build large salt storage sheds north of Shelburne Village near the LaPlatte River. Some board members sought to have Dein removed from the board by going to Vermont Superior Court. Dein made an agreement with the selectboard at the time to not participate in conversations about the railroad. It is an agreement he has kept to date. The case currently is awaiting action by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City.
“In my 46 years, I have never seen a public servant subjected to the type of harassment and discouragement that Dr. Dein has experienced,” Dr. Steven Metz said. “And I know that there were times that Dr. Dein was very discouraged. Now, as a result of change of circumstances, he looks at Shelburne with a far brighter outlook.”
Storey responded, thanking Metz for response to Dein’s service.
“It’s been adventuresome three years,” Storey said. “I’m appreciative and thankful that we have stepped into new days.”
• Craig Wooster was appointed to the Water Commission.
• Approved goals for the town manager.
• Krohn discussed with the board what the director of administration position would look like. Ann Janda previously held that position before resigning in October. Krohn has not been quick to fill that position, instead talking with town staff about what is needed in the position. He suggested a high-level administrative assistant.