JAMESTOWN – Town Councilors on Monday unanimously approved the allocation of $15,000 to fund a study to determine the feasibility of constructing a wind turbine on the island.
However, the vote did not come without debate. Town Council Vice President Julio DiGiando, who has been a supporter of the wind energy committee in the past, expressed initial reservations over funding the study without knowing the extent and availability of additional outside funding.
“I feel like I’m in the dark, and I’m not comfortable with that,” DiGiando said. Jamestown Wind Energy Committee Co-Chairman Robert Bowen sought to ease councilors’ reservations by saying that the committee was seeking funding in order to “turn the lights on to inform your judgment.”
Members of the Jamestown Wind Energy Committee had previously requested a total of $50,000 in funding in order to hire third-party consultants to navigate the town through the site selection, economic analysis, and initial project design process. The town previously had agreed to allocate $10,000 towards the study, bringing its total commitment to $25,000.
The funds will be allocated from the town’s incidental fund, which currently stands at $46,756.50.
Councilor William Kelly also endeavored to determine what the town would get for its over- all investment of $25,000. Bowen replied that the town would be laying the groundwork for the development of a more comprehensive study. In addition, with town backing, Bowen felt that it would make the process of obtaining additional funds easier.
In addition to town funds, committee members are also exploring the possibility of securing private and public sources of funding, such as grant awards and state or federal loans. According to Bowen, members of the committee are scheduled to meet with the governor’s office this Friday to discuss possible funding sources.
By Tom Shevlin
11 October 2007
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