Southborough awarded another $250K for Green Communities work

by beth on September 20, 2019

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The newest round of Green Communities awards lists Southborough as entitled to $250K for energy conservation work.

That may sound like deja vu. If so, you’re recalling the $250K grant the Town received in 2018. It followed $142K granted in 2017.

The state grants allow Towns to spend up to the allotted amount on specified”energy efficiency and renewable energy projects”.

Southborough completed work outlined under the first two grants:

$142,865 – to fund energy conservation measures, weatherstripping, air sealing, and insulating measures, in Highway Division Building, Old Transfer Station, Public Library, Town Hall, South Union School – Arts Center, New Transfer Station, and Cemetery Building

$250,000 – to fund energy conservation measures, weatherization, HVAC motors and VFDs, and administrative costs, in municipal facilities including Trottier Middle, Neary Elementary, and Finn Elementary Schools, and Library

In 2018, the Town announced that the work under the most recent grant was projected to provide an annual savings of $14,374 in municipal utilities costs.

The 2019 grant will cover:

energy conservation measures, weatherization, lighting, and administrative support, in municipal facilities including P. Brent Trottier School, Albert S. Woodward School, Margaret A. Neary School, and Finn Elementary School

You may have noticed that our Town’s two most recent grants include “administrative support”. Passing on that money to the Town employee overseeing the Green Communities program was a hot topic before and at the last Annual Town Meeting.

Apparently, Facilities Director John Parent had been promised that the extra work he was doing to get and oversee the grants would be compensated. That compensation was included in the budget drafted by the administration team. (The $6K stipend would only be granted if the state funding came through.)

Some members of the Personnel Board, Board of Selectmen, and Advisory Committee objected. No one argued that Parent wasn’t deserving of the compensation for the work he had put in and its benefit to the Town. Instead, the mechanism was at issue. Some officials argued that allowing one employee a stipend was opening a can of worms. In the end, voters approved the stipend.

The issue shouldn’t come up at future Town Meetings, as Town Administrator Mark Purple agreed to handle future compensation through employee job descriptions and salaries.

An article by Metrowest Daily News first alerted me to the latest grant. According to the story, Southborough got a bigger piece of the state’s pie in this summer’s round than other towns in our region. You can see the state’s list of 2019 grants here and the status of all Green Communities grants to date here.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carl Guyer September 20, 2019 at 10:22 PM

Congratulations 🎈 to John Parent for work done to win this years grants. The implementation of these grants will reduce Southborough energy consumption and therefore the town’s annual operating cost paid for by Southborough tax payers. Adding in the bonus of reduced fossil fuel consumption, we take another step to limit Climate Change.

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2 Frank Crowell September 23, 2019 at 1:54 PM

Will there be any metrics in order to see if money was well spent?

Greater than $300k in, what is the ROI?

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3 arborist September 23, 2019 at 7:55 PM

could someone explain what the old transfer station and new transfer station refers to?

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4 beth September 24, 2019 at 7:39 AM

Good catch and question. I’ll ask.

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5 beth September 24, 2019 at 10:24 AM

John Parent clarified:

We referred to the hopper operator’s work space that overlooks the refuse pit as the “new transfer station”. We referred to the old swap shop building that is located near the recycling compactors as the “old transfer station”. This was done simply to differentiate between the two structures.

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6 Resident September 24, 2019 at 9:23 AM

I suppose it is stupid to ask if the savings will be passed along to the taxpayers.

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7 arborist September 24, 2019 at 11:01 AM

Thanks Beth for checking into this, The way it sounded there were 2 different transfer stations in town LOL

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