Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chasing the energy stimulus funds

Continuing to followup on an issue I began raising a few months ago, the Town is investigating the possibility of getting energy-related stimulus funds.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

See paragraph 8 for Cheshire angle:

By Luther Turmelle
North Bureau Chief

CROMWELL — Connecticut Light & Power Co. and the state’s Office of Policy and Management are making an effort this summer to get stimulus money aimed at energy efficiency projects into the coffers of municipalities around the state.

And to varying degrees, municipal officials are responding to the effort. Representatives from more than 30 municipalities turned out at a forum held Thursday at Crowne Plaza Hotel here, almost twice as many as had shown up for a similar program in Southbury Wednesday, said Mitch Gross, a spokesman for CL&P, which sponsored the event.

There is more than $24.4 million in stimulus money available for energy efficiency and conservation projects, said David Kalafa, policy development coordinator for OPM’s energy management unit.

Of that amount, $14.93 million is available to Connecticut’s 26 largest communities through grants that officials can apply to the U.S. Department of Energy to obtain, Kalafa said. The remaining $9.59 million in federal money is being distributed at the state level, with the program being administered by OPM, he said.

“One of the biggest misconceptions that the communities have is the timeline that’s involved in applying,” Kalafa said. “The 26 largest communities have until June 25, while the other 146 have a mid-September deadline to apply with the state.”

Essex First Selectman Phil Miller said his reasons for coming to the meeting were twofold.

“We have an 1892 Town Hall with big windows and we’re looking to make it more energy efficient,” Miller said. “But we’re also looking to find out as much as we can so that we can serve as a conduit for information to our residents and businesses.”

George Noewatne, Cheshire’s deputy director of public works, attended the forum, primarily with the hopes that the town might be able to obtain federal money to make the town’s community pool more energy efficient.

The pool, which opened in August 2003, has become a political football as energy costs have driven up the cost of operating it during the winter. The facility, which is covered by a bubble of synthetic material in the winter, has required subsidies from the town’s general fund that have topped $400,000 annually since 2006.

“There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered and they didn’t provide a lot of specifics,” Noewatne said.

He would later find out from Kalafa that the use of stimulus money for energy efficiency projects involving pools is prohibited.

OPM will hold nine similar informational meetings, including one in North Haven at Town Hall at 9 a.m. June 30.

Luther Turmelle can be reached at or 789-5706.

Anonymous said...

The problem we are going to have with gov. funding of the pool is that it is not a necessity to the way of life in town. Gov. funding will cover lighting, heating, cooling, plumbing and electical in municipal buildings that are needed to keep the town operating. The pool building is a structure that is a perk.

Breachway said...

The pool isn't a necessity? It's a perk? Why are we paying 400k a year for it then? Maybe the swim team can practice at Mixville.

Anonymous said...

No town "needs" to have a swim team, a football team, youth baseball, scouting, or a marching band. Towns will not fall apart without them.

Anonymous said...

the town is subsidising the pool because it is the only way it will continue to operate. we should close it down until the economy gets better or lease it to a management company and let them maintain and pay for the pool.