Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"Power plant" proposal

Well... it's not exactly a proposal for a power plant, but fuel cells serve a similar function. And they are in the headlines, including here in the Hartford Courant (by John M. Moran).

Proposals are being drawn up for the world's largest fuel cell power generation plant that could be built in Bridgeport. The proposal calls for five 2-MW fuel cells that could generate enough energy for nearly 10,000 homes. Financing for the project would come primarily from private

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission Liaison has taken a lot of heat lately. But the police are now using it at as a tool to combat underage drinking. This NH Register article doesn't surprise me at all. With all the recent talk about MySpace, I checked it out while googling something else entirely. Kids seem to talk quite openly about the use of drugs and alcohol.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Barite Mines

The barite mines continue to be front page news. They hit the front page of the NH Register today (by Luther Turmelle).


Here is a June 1 article in the Waterbury Rep-Am (by Lauresha Xhihani).

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Monday, May 29, 2006

Cheshire's not alone

I couldn't help but mention this article that I saw in the Waterbury paper (by Gennady Sheyner). In Cheshire, we (both parties, I believe) have had difficulties in filling the two hundred or so volunteer positions in the town... everything elected from Council to Constable and appointed from Beautification to Youth Services. This article just highlights that it's not only Cheshire, but surrounding communities, as well. I'm not sure why that is. I suspect there's a number of reasons. But I'd bet that among the reasons I'd include people having more options available to them. And even more important is probably the shift in families from single income to dual income... driven, I believe, largely by globalization and technology.

And while Cheshire stands alone with parking problems at Macnamara/Legion Field, we're not alone with having parking problems at our ballfields. Wallingford (in nearby Yalesville) (Record-Journal, By Jeffery Kurz) has parking problems too.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

$3 gas & Memorial Day

Here (Waterbury Rep-Am) is one person's analysis on why gas is $3 per gallon. To me, this simply reinforces our need to find alternative forms of energy.

Of course, if you're reading this today, I hope you take a moment to remember the men and women who have sacrificed so much for Our Country.

Tim White

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Dodd students in DC

Here is an article (Luther Turmelle, NH Register) on what happened to some of our Dodd students yesterday during the annual DC trip. Seems as though everyone is fine, which is good news.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Friday, May 26, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend Open Forum

"Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service." Here is some interesting background on our day of remembrance. As well, my dad has a nice letter in the Herald this week. And for anyone who doesn't know, he's the person who has been organizing Cheshire's Memorial Day concert for years. And he does it for one simple reason, he cares about those who have served, and are serving, America. And my dad doesn't want anyone to forget them and what they did, and are doing, for us. He never looks for credit, but I think this is perfect opportunity to give him credit. (As well, Ernie Dipietro, the head of the American Legion, does a great deal for veterans in town.)

Other happenings...

Fuel Cells (Brian Wallheimer, Norwich Bulletin) are getting big in CT. Even Cheshire is moving forward with this alternative form of energy (Kristen Malinowski, Cheshire Herald).

Bethany will be having its annual parade/carnival in two weeks. (Amity Observer)... Cheshire's annual Memorial Day Parade is this Sunday at 1pm (I think). It starts at the police station and ends at the high school.

With respect to clean energy and the 20% by 2010 initiative, if you're curious to see how local towns stack up against the rest of the state, Bethany, Cheshire and Prospect are listed here.

There is going to be a public hearing on the pool (Lauresha Xhihani, Waterbury Rep-Am) on June 13. The idea is to appropriate more money. I think most people already know that I don't want to spend anymore money on the pool. So I'm wondering if it's possible to not appropriate this money, then pay the already-incurred bills through next year's budget? And if we can't use the pool for all of next year, then we can't use it. The pool simply costs too much money. And the fuel cells aren't supposed to be in place (and saving money) until Fall '07, 18 months away.

The Cheshire Republican Town Committee met last night. Governor Jodi Rell and Congresswoman Nancy Johnson both had representatives attend the meeting. The RTC then got into a rather interesting discussion about the town and the party. I certainly enjoyed it. It was one of the more lively discussions in which I've participated since I began to get involved back in 1998... upon my return from Vietnam.

Housing costs in CT are high and people are talking about it. As I've said before, the cost of living and taxes are driving people out of Connecticut.

I haven't seen anything online, but I've seen several articles written about the use of Channel 14... a topic of discussion at Tuesday's Council meeting. As I said during the meeting, I'd just like to see increased use of the Government Channel. Increasing public awareness of the issues and views of elected officials is a good thing. And while not too many people come to town meetings, it's amazing how many people consistently tell me that they watch Channel 14... even if only while "clicking thru."

I've set up a meeting on the Route 42 reconstruction project. The meeting is to include "interested stakeholders." (DPW, DOT, residents and, hopefully, some elected officials) It's set for Wednesday June 14. I'm hoping to find a way to expedite the process.

Tim White
State Representative candidate (R-89)

Kids in Motion

On a previous blog, someone asked about Kids in Motion. But since I didn't know the answer, I relayed the question to the person spearheading the program, Nina Vianese. I asked her why Kids in Motion wanted a playground at Bartlem Park, rather than using the playground at Darcey. (See the prior posting for the precise question.) Nina responded almost immediately, saying:

"The Darcey School playground is a wonderful accessible playground: however, it only services children that are kindergarten age AND it is closed to the public during school hours.

The playground we are building will be open to the public 7 days a week with unrestricted hours of use. It will serve children between the ages of 3-12. It will be a larger playground that will accommodate more individuals than the Darcey School facility. As you know it will also be centrally located in town therefore making it easily accessible for all residents.

Thank you again for sharing that comment with me. I appreciate having the opportunity to respond.

- Nina"

That sounds like a good answer to me. Hope that answers the question of the anonymous poster. Besides that though, I also thought this would be a perfect opportunity to give Kids in Motion some help... They're having a fundraiser on June 3rd at Copper Valley. Tickets are $25. And they're having an auction of some sort... silent or live, I'm not sure. And finally, if you'd like to simply donate to them, you may send a check to:

Kids in Motion
355 Oregon Rd.
Cheshire, CT

(I presume you would make the check payable to "Kids in Motion.")

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Council Meeting 5/23

Fuel cells passed! I was pretty excited about that. And although there are still more points in the process where (I believe) the Council will need to vote, there is clearly support (even if tepid) among the nine members of the Council. My reasons for supporting the fuel cell project are:

1) we reduce spending on the pool (although not consumption, which is also very important); and
2) Connecticut and America must begin to use alternative forms of energy.

The Council discussed some other items, but one really stuck out in my mind... calling for a public hearing for a special appropriation for the pool. The number according to the Waterbury paper is another $233,000. (Although this appropriation is more "after the fact"... the money will pretty much already have been spent by the time we have the public hearing and, presumably, appropriate the money.) I certainly am looking forward to hearing comments from the public on this item. At least though we're moving forward on the fuel cells and trying to save money when it comes to the pool.

And here's a link to the fuel cell article (by Kristen Malinowski) that ran in the Cheshire Herald a couple of weeks ago. And also a link to the fuel cell article (by Lauresha Xihanhi) that ran in the Waterbury Republican American a week or so ago. (By the way, anyone happen to understand the juncture of copyright law and the internet? I'm assuming that links are legal, but am curious how far one can go with respect to copying something... even if proper credit is given.)

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Monday, May 22, 2006

Energy Commission 5/22

The bulk of the meeting tonight was about the fuel cell proposal. And it's late, so I'm not going to get into the details. Nonetheless, I was very happy that both David Schrumm and Diane Visconti attended tonight's meeting. So they had a chance to hear a more fluid conversation than we'll probably hear tomorrow night. (Btw, I think that's simply a matter of there being fewer and more knowledgable people in attendance at Energy meetings, so discussions flow easier and are more in-depth.) I don't know if either decided tonight if they will support the proposal, but I hope they do support it. As I indicated in my letter to the Herald this week, I just don't feel the people in town want to spend anymore money on the pool. And this proposal is a perfect way to reduce spending. (Here's the front page story from the Friday edition of the Waterbury paper, by Lauresha Xhihani)

There were plenty of other items on the agenda, such as the energy consumption benchmarking tool... which leads into the town (hopefully) becoming an Energy Star town... and a discussion began on the use of our "renewable" energy (methane) at the wastewater treatment facility. But the last little bit of (what I think is) good news is that I made contact with someone in Bethany today. And she was quite excited about getting involved in a Clean Energy Competition with Cheshire. She suggested that Bethany (her, really) could offer some free horseback riding time as a prize if Cheshire wins. And Cheshire already has a tentative prize. So hopefully... we're good to go now on a competition and can launch it soon.

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission liaison

Friday, May 19, 2006

Open Forum 5/19

Bluecoat posted this article over on CT Local Politics. I just had to post the link here. It's too serious an article to be missed.

"Officials are also concerned that there might not be enough power in the future. Jerrold Oppenheim, a public interest attorney, told lawmakers that Connecticut is poised to experience 'resource adequacy problems' by 2010. And he said there is nothing on the horizon that would cover the power gap." (Susan Haigh, AP)

What's so sad about this is that I heard a FERC spokesman talking about CT's future energy problems at least a year ago. I guess the future is here. It's just too bad that our state legislature was buried under the truly important issues of our day, such as banning soda in school.

I heard of at least one well-connected Cheshire Dem who received one of these Lieberman phone calls. Our Senator is definitely concerned. Wonder how it's going for him tonight?

And finally, energy is generally rising in price. But I found this article on natural gas prices to be rather interesting. Unfortunately for our pool, we buy (I believe) most of the natural gas we need during the winter... when supplies are tight and prices are high.

Both state conventions (R & D) will be happening tomorrow. I was a delegate, but won't be going. I have too many other important things to do, like... cut the lawn.


Lamont wins! just kidding. Although he did amazing well. Apparently he got 1/3 of the votes. (And seeing as how I got 1/3 myself, then obviously that's an incredible number to hit! lol.) I just pulled these convention delegate counts from CT Local Pol (their QB, Genghis Conn, is covering the Dem convention live) for the three towns in the 89th... Bethany (2 Joe Lieberman, 1 Ned Lamont) Cheshire (5 JL, 7 NL) & Prospect (3 JL, 0 NL). I really have no analysis for what those numbers mean. Anyone know who the delegates were? I'm not even sure who the Cheshire delegates were. Although I do believe I heard that all five Cheshire Council Dems are in the convention tomorrow when the Governor's nod is given. I imagine that they would all be delegates to the Senate endorsement tonight, but I'm not sure.

Tim White
State Representative candidate (R-89, Bethany, Cheshire & Prospect)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

National Security

The Courant certainly seems to think that there is a direct link between the price of oil and national security. We (America) need to diversify our energy portfolio. I think fuel cells are one way that we can begin to address this need.

Tim White
State Representative candidate (89th)

89th Convention Results

I lost. The vote went down along town lines with the 5 Cheshire votes for me and the 6 Prospect votes and 4 Bethany votes for my opponent. I got the paperwork to file for a primary and intend to do so. I think I'm going to have a lot of fun over the next several months.

Here are the comments that were made by my dear old Dad when he nominated me tonight:

I rise to endorse Tim White for Representative from the 89th District not because he's my son but because he's well qualified. Tim's principles are drawn from the patriotic core of the American experience. They are: representative republicanism, liberty and justice for all with no one above the law, smaller government and less taxes, local control rather than state or federal bureaucracies, excellence in education as the basis for an informed electorate, public safety, and recognition that individual freedom must be matched by personal responsibility.

That's what he stands for. Here's some of what he's done:

For three years, he has been a watchdog for fiscal responsibility and government accountability. The town and state owe it to taxpayers to keep spending and taxes down while getting the most for our money. Some of his accomplishments include:

As an experienced member of the Cheshire Town Council, keeping Cheshire's tax increase below 6% for the entire period, excluding revaluation.

Scrutinizing and questioning Board of Education budget items and personnel figures, finding out for the first time in years exactly how many teachers Cheshire has.

Supporting smarter use of energy, which helps keep costs and taxes down and improves our quality of life.

Encouraging a climate of civility in public debate and dialogue.

But much of what occurs in our towns is driven by the state. And to that end, Tim has advocated for many concerns for the people of Cheshire and of the 89th district, such as:

Sponsoring a unanimously-approved resolution encouraging the state to increase property tax relief, particularly for senior citizens.

Supporting a unanimously-approved resolution to reform the binding arbitration law which costs the town’s taxpayers millions of dollars.

Going to Hartford to testify before the state legislature on your behalf, requesting their support for common sense laws that cost the taxpayers nothing.

And remaining on top of state issues, such as the reconstruction of Rte 42 ensuring that our state tax dollars are not wasted.

Statewide, the number one issue on people's minds is energy. Tim understands energy. He's currently advocating for Cheshire to begin using alternative forms of energy.

Tim will continue working to make government more accountable to you, the taxpayers. As always, please don't hesitate to contact him with any concerns. Tim White listens, and understands, and acts for good government and a better America. Let's send Tim White to Hartford from the 89th!

And here are the comments that were made by my friend, Adam Grippo, when he seconded me:

I would like to second Tim White’s nomination. This is both for Tim’s accomplishments and because he is the most electable candidate.

Why is he the most electable candidate? It is because of the demographics of the district.

Cheshire is not a small part of the 89th. Keep in mind the numbers of registered voters...

Prospect: 5800
Cheshire: 5400
Bethany: 3800...

for a total of 15,000 registered voters. Breaking down the district: Prospect is 38%, Cheshire is 36% and Bethany is 25%. Cheshire may not have many republicans, but it is not a small part of the 89th.

And where is the incumbent's stronghold? In the last election, she lost Prospect by 30 votes. But she won Bethany by 500 and Cheshire by over 900 votes. Cheshire is her stronghold.

Tim White will do well in Cheshire because he represents this democratic stronghold of the 89th district. This is considered the Democratic district in Cheshire and two years ago Tim White became its representative. In last year's local election, with over 20 positions on the ballot, only one Republican won the district... Tim White. Democrats won everything else. So how does he, as a Republican, win the hearts and minds of this democratic stronghold? Through voter outreach. Tim never stops going door to door and listening to his constituents. He may not always agree with you, but he always listens to you.

But that's a local election. Could another Republican win this part of Cheshire and win the 89th? Well, in the 2004 presidential election, of the three towns in the 89th, George Bush carried Bethany and Prospect, but not the part of Cheshire that Tim represents. John F. Kerry won Cheshire's 89th district.

Republicans don't win in this part of Cheshire. No republican, except for Tim White. When looking at the results of everything from the Presidential to the local elections in the 89th, it is obvious that Tim White is the only candidate who can win Cheshire and the rest of the 89th. And it is for that reason that Tim is the most electable candidate.

I support Tim White. And you should too.

Tim White
State Representative Candidate (89th)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Electric Cars

Will Ed Begley's dream finally come true? I still remember, as a child, seeing him on The Tonight Show talking up his electric car and the benefits to the environment. Of course, I didn't think through some of the other pertinent details, such as costs and the ability to recharge.

Apparently now though, electric cars are in mass production. This company seems to be doing it. And while they don't have much speed or range, they may be good for getting around town. Or perhaps parents would find these to be a good option for their kids?

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission Liaison

89th Convention

It doesn't look like I'll be getting the party endorsement tomorrow (May 16) at Prospect Town Hall at 7pm. So here's a quick recap on how I expect the convention to break down:

Prospect: 6 delegates
Cheshire: 5 delegates
Bethany: 4 delegates

That's 15 delegates and 8 wins. And with the 6 Prospect delegates (I believe) committed to Kergaravat and 2 Bethany delegates supporting him, that means he wins the convention. But that's only 15 people. And there are ~4100 registered Republicans in the 89th.

And according to the Courant, Lamont and Lieberman will have a primary.

Tim White
State Representative candidate (89th)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Pool Options

The most talked about issue in town is the Pool. Some people love it and some people hate it. But almost everyone agrees that it costs too much taxpayer money.

In order to address the costs, the Council is considering hiring a consultant. And there’s nothing wrong with a consultant, except that it will cost more money. So even before we spend more money on the pool, I think we (the townspeople) should consider some of the options we have to reduce costs at the pool, such as:

1) Wipe our hands clean and sell it. Perhaps we could offer someone a 20 year lease for $1/yr.
2) Increase revenue by creating a marketing campaign to increase the number of users.
3) Take the bubble down and leave it down, making it a summer-only facility.
4) Erect an energy-efficient building over the pool.
5) Find alternative forms of energy that are less costly to the town.

Among these options, my analytical observations are:

1) Sell it With a $400,000 taxpayer funded subsidy this year alone, I find it unlikely that anyone would want to take the pool.
2) Marketing campaign This may work, but it would probably require that we increase spending. And that’s what we’re trying to stop.
3) Summer-only pool I already suggested this, but I was the lone Council voice for this course of action.
4) Erect an energy-efficient pool building If today there was a referendum question that asked the townspeople to spend more money on the pool, I expect it would go over as well as the linear park did last year.
5) Energy alternatives Finding alternative forms of energy is the most viable option for reducing spending on the pool.

So what is an alternative form of energy? There are many types, such as microturbines, photovoltaic arrays and fuel cells. And as the Herald explained (see “Fuel Cells Eyed For Town's Pool,” by Kristen Malinowski, May 11, 2006), fuel cells were recommended to the Town Council by the Energy Commission as a way to save money on energy costs.

So are the fuel cells worth doing? I think so.

There simply aren’t any easy answers, but with the pool’s upcoming annual operating budget for natural gas exceeding $280,000, we need to seriously consider this option.

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission Liaison

Got my hybrid!

Well... I finally got it! Actually, I picked it up last weekend. But I wanted to fill it up and find out what sort of mileage I'm getting before I blogged on it. And I've filled up once so far... seem to be getting just over 40mpg. And that's good for me. That's pretty much in line with what I was expecting, so I'm happy with it so far.

And once again, so you know the basics of my decision:

1) $2100 federal tax credit
2) $1000 state sales tax exemption on hybrids that get over 40mpg ($16k x 6% = $1000) and
3) $2000 savings in gas about an extra 10mpg over five years

As well, Consumer Reports (April '06) reviewed hybrids and recommended the Civic Hybrid.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Human Services 5/11

The Human Services Committee met tonight. I was unable to attend the entire meeting, but was there for some discussion. There's some concern about helping special needs residents at night. Then there was some discussion on Alcohol Abuse Awareness Week, slated for graduation week. I was pleasantly surprised to see a member of the Youth Services Committee at the meeting. Perhaps the two committees will be able to work together for their common cause.

Besides the HSC meeting, I also was fortunate to have participated in another convention tonight... the one for Probate Judge. And without much surprise, Ray Voelker was renominated, unanimously, by the convention. (The district includes Cheshire & Prospect.)

Tim White
Town Council, Human Services Committee Liaison

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Open Forum 5/10

Last night's Council meeting focused on the Energy Commission's recommendation to use fuel cells at the pool to reduce energy costs. Peabody Museum uses one that you can see in this photo. I also found the explanation on why fuel cells are "clean energy" (if not renewable energy) to be easy to understand. (Btw, the "Tim White" on that website is not me.) Here's the Herald's take.

Cheshire’s own Registrar of Voters, Richard Abbate, is running for Secretary of the State. I know we live in a blue state, but from what I understand there is some real dissatisfaction with the Secretary’s performance. And by that I mean professional dissatisfaction, not partisan dissatisfaction.

May 16th is the date for House Republican conventions statewide. The 89th is going to be held in Prospect Town Hall... I'll definitely be there. Wish me luck! Or, better yet, feel free to attend (although you may have to be a registered Republican)... The 103rd (Al Adinolfi) will be held in Cheshire Town Hall. I'm not sure on the times for either one yet, but am guessing they'll start at 7pm or 7:30pm.

Despite worthwhile efforts to avoid increasing traffic on Rte 10, particularly near the interchange zone, that most famous of French retail stores may soon be exacerbating traffic congestion in the northend of town. Apparently, Target is going to be opening a store next to the new Home Depot on the Meriden/Wtby Turnpike.

Tim White
State Representative candidate (89th)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Destefano / Malloy

It seems to me that most talk I hear is about who's going to get the Democratic nomination for US Senate. And while I expect Governor Jodi Rell to do quite well this November, I'm still left wondering who's going to win the Democratic nomination for Governor?

The Democratic party is currently considering their two options for the nomination for Governor: Mayor John DeStefano (New Haven) and Mayor Dan Malloy (Stamford). Frankly, I don't know much about either one of them. But just this weekend, I witnessed firsthand, something that (shouldn't be, but often) is quite important in elections: fundraising.

I volunteered at a fundraiser (for homeless kids) in Fairfield County on Friday night. Wow! Not only were the plates $200/person, but during the live auction, often in a matter of only two or three minutes, items were going for $5,000, $10,000 and even up to $25,000! I was astonished. I mean, it was all for a very good cause, but the amount of money just left me in awe. (I have friends who earn $25,000/yr!)

Anyway, my point is simple... for years I've heard about how candidates can raise money in Fairfield County... and now I've seen it firsthand. They certainly can. Coincidentally, Malloy was the auctioneer. So I'm sure if he gets the nomination, he'll be able to at least raise money in September and October, even if he doesn't get the votes in November.

Tim White

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Energy Backlash?

“Washington -- Finally, Democrats say, they have found the key to unlock an electoral victory this fall: rail incessantly at Republicans for high gasoline prices… ‘This issue alone will determine the election this fall,’ said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn.”(Hartford Courant, David Lightman).

If this is true, I can’t help but wonder what impact this will have on Democrats in Hartford this fall. Even Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is speaking bluntly, giving his view on the State Legislature. “‘We saw no vote in the House of Representatives on any substantive energy proposal - none. Not even debate,’ Blumenthal said Thursday. ‘Connecticut taxpayers and ratepayers have the right to a vote so they can hold their legislators accountable.’ This article in the Hartford Courant (by Paul Marks) says that he went so far as to associate this inaction with lobbyists. The AG deserves credit for speaking with such candor.

I’m not sure what the future holds. Will incumbents in DC and/or Hartford lose their elections because they're not providing answers to escalating energy costs? Only November 6th will tell. But at least in Cheshire, our Energy Commission is not only asking questions. They are providing real answers.

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission liaison

Friday, May 05, 2006

Campaign Finance Reform

Well... they did finally do something! And while I haven't yet read up much on this, from what I've heard, it sounds like a good thing. Here's the Courant's take.

Tim White
Candidate for State Representative

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Energy/Pool: A Solution?

As I've said before, the Pool costs too much money... particularly in relation to energy. As well, America needs to begin finding alternative forms of energy... and we must begin to ween ourselves off of foreign oil/energy. And at a special meeting of the Energy Commission (6:45am) this morning, the EC took one step and began to address both questions.

Officially, the purpose of their meeting was to decide whether to recommend to the Council that the Town should grant 1/8 acre of land (adjacent to the pool) to a private company (UTC Technologies). The purpose of providing the land would be to provide UTC Technologies with land for them to install (free of charge to Cheshire property taxpayers) fuel cells. The purpose of the fuel cells would be to reduce the cost of energy at the pool. (I believe a second purpose would be to help grow the fuel cell industry... not exactly "clean" energy, but it's something I would call an "alternative" form of energy. Effectively, it's mini-power plant right there at the pool.)

The crux of the meeting was fairly simple. I believe the EC agrees on the first two points (costs at the pool & finding alternative forms of energy). So agreement on the first point is fairly easy... we need to try to reduce costs. But the second point is less clear. What exactly is an "alternative form of energy?"

Well, in my opinion, there are many alternative forms of energy. All of which have one common theme... they're all "emerging technologies." Some examples include:

1) photovoltaic arrays / solar panels
2) wind turbines
3) biomass (woodchips, I think)
4) methane (from garbage dumps)
5) hydro (ok... i know this isn't new, but I think there are new, less "intrusive" technologies)
6) microturbines
7) fuel cells...

to name a few. Some of these are considered "clean." Some may not be considered clean... but are probably less dirty than most forms that are commonly used today.

So that gets the EC to their next question of "what form do we choose?" And that was the main purpose of today's meeting.

Previously, the EC had ventured down the path of microturbines and fuel cells. And this meeting was intended to provide the Council with a recommendation for a way for the town to reduce costs at the pool. (Although I believe the formal recommendation deals with giving land to UTC... although it's basically the same thing.) And so the EC discussed the costs & benefits of microturbines and fuel cells.

The discussion compared an actual fuel cell proposal to a theoretical "industry-standard" microturbine. The discussion seemed good to me, but in the end... the discussion was still based on a hypothetical microturbine. And there was very appropriate concern about not getting "hard" numbers for such an important project. But the schools' facilities' manager joined the conversation at this point.

Over the past year, the schools have been investigating microturbines. And while the EC's discussion did not compare two actual proposals, the schools had already performed their due diligence on the contractor that had proposed installing microturbines at the schools. And the results were not good. That particular contractor (although more than one company sells microturbines) had left clients with headaches. Based on those comments, I concluded that microturbines were not the best option (at least with that contractor). And that the fuel cell proposal makes sense as a way to reduce the pool's costs.

The EC voted 6-1 to recommend the Council get involved with this fuel cell project in order to reduce costs at the pool.

A few add'l comments (and I'm dead tired and am about to hit the sack... I'm still fighting the tail end of a cold):

1) the cost to the town was described as "nominal." The premise here is that there are numerous gov't-sponsored incentives (i.e. - we already paid the taxes) and other reasons for people, other than Cheshire property taxpayers, to support this project. One such reason is that this is an emerging technology.

2) this project may include not only the pool, but the high school as well... so the BOE may get involved.

3) there is a deadline to make this project happen (May 31, I think). If we pass the deadline, then we miss the opportunity.

4) town staff who have responsibilities for energy are receptive, and even highly supportive, of this project.

That's it for now. I'm going to sleep. But I thought this was worth posting. I think this will be on the Council agenda next Tuesday, May 9, 7:30pm in Town Hall or you can check out the meeting on the Henry Chase channel on Cox 14!

Tim White
Town Council, liaison to the Energy Commission

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

As the Legislature Closes

Underage Drinking Parties

There's quite a bit of activity going on in Hartford lately. With the new law criminalizing the act of parents serving alcohol to minors, some in the blogosphere have spoken out, particularly on the constitutionality of searching homes without warrants. I think this blog on CT Local Politics is a good discussion. I even jumped into this one as people started parsing the various scenarios. What really irks me about the underage drinking parties is when one parent feels he/she can act as a surrogate parent (of sorts) and take on the role of parent for someone else's child... say a 13-yr old. That makes no sense to me. (Btw, locally, I think the Human Services Committee may get its wish granted and have the Council officially proclaim graduation week (June 18 - 24) "alcohol abuse awareness week." Escalating public awareness of the dangers of alcohol abuse is a very worthy goal. And it's not only Cheshire doing this. Here is what Amity School District is doing.)

Cleaning House

Although she's been working hard at it, Governor Rell still hasn't, apparently, been able to get rid of all the problems from recent years, but from what I understand, no one knew about this until this week. At least Ragaglia is no longer in charge of Fraud Prevention.

Campaign Finance Reform

What I expect will be one of my biggest disappointments of this session will be a lack of progress on Campaign Finance Reform. Back in February, when the Council met with Cheshire's state delegation, I said "thanks for what you've done with CFR, but there's still more work to do." If nothing more happens, it may be an opportunity lost for a long time. Too bad really.

State Budget Completed

The budget is done. And it was passed almost unanimously. Area towns got increased funding. But I also understand that "HB 5845 LCO 5217" failed. Too bad for the 89th District as it would have redistributed money around the state, including increases in funding for Bethany ($91,648), Cheshire ($139,420) and Prospect ($80,513).

Soda Ban

I think the soda ban is just another example of the State going too far. As well, the soda companies themselves have now agreed to a significant self-imposed ban. Although, that may have been partly a result of the new CT law. Nonetheless, it's just another example of the State having the wrong priorities. There's time to talk about banning soda in schools (something Cheshire's BOE did), but not enough time to discuss Campaign Finance Reform or Eminent Domain... reminds me of how we may have money for turf, but not for ECS funding.

Any other concerns as the legislature closes the 2006 session?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District