Westport – Selectmen again delayed a vote on a contract to build the Town Hall wind turbine, this time until the board’s next regular meeting May 19.
The board met for a half-hour before Town Meeting Wednesday in the high school cafeteria, and with little discussion voted to wait on voting after receiving new information selectmen wanted time to review.
Selectmen were given a slightly different version of the contract than they discussed Monday night and wind data from a test tower across Main Road from Town Hall. The board voted 3-to-2, with Steven Ouellette and Brian Valcourt opposed, to discuss the turbine at its next meeting.
Selectman Robert Rebello said he still didn’t know how much it would cost for the Highway Department to do preliminary and foundation work or how expensive some materials are. He supported a motion by Gary Mauk to delay a vote on the contract.
A small crowd gathered around a cafeteria table where selectmen briefly discussed the contract. Brenda Burke, who was listening along, said to selectmen “you should be ashamed of yourselves” for again delaying a vote on the turbine.
“I should be, but I’m not,” Mauk answered.
“Me, neither,” Rebello said.
The 120-foot turbine would no longer power Town Hall as originally planned, but the Highway Department building, which is closer to where the turbine would be built and cheaper to connect to.
Under the contract, the town would pay the contractor a third of the cost up front and other payments as the project progressed. The turbine would cost $63,400 but the project is expected to receive a $45,000 rebate from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Like an earlier contract signed by selectmen, the contractor would guarantee the turbine’s electricity output but in the contract now being considered would have to meet a lower threshold.
Voters were scheduled to vote at Town Meeting whether to return the $63,400 back into the stabilization fund, essentially ending the project, but the article was passed over because both sides have negotiated a contract.
By Grant Welker
Gatehouse News Service
7 May 2008
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