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Selectmen: Turbine contractor hasn’t filed with MTC

Westport – The town attorney will contact the contractor for the Town Hall wind turbine to find out why the project has been delayed since the Board of Selectmen signed a contract a month ago.

Steve Pitney of Alternate Energy hasn’t submitted an application for a rebate from the quasi-public agency Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a necessary step before construction can begin on the turbine. But town officials can’t meet with Pitney until he signs the contract, Town Administrator Michael Coughlin said, because of a complaint to state Attorney General Martha Coakley.

David Dionne, chairman of the Alternate Energy Committee, asked selectmen Monday night for an update on the project, and said the town should meet with Pitney as a way to jump-start the process. Coughlin said a meeting between the two sides would “only muddy the water” with the complaint to the attorney general.

Former Selectwoman Veronica Beaulieu filed a complaint in May protesting how specifics of the Town Hall wind turbine plan were changed since the bid was filed in spring 2007. Since then, the contract has been reverted to the original terms.

The MTC needs to approve a $45,000 rebate for the $63,400 project before it will be built.

Dionne blamed selectmen for delaying the project past an MTC deadline for the rebate program, but Selectmen Chairman J. Duncan Albert said Pitney was mostly to blame for the slow process. “Your chosen contractor has sat on his butt and done nothing,” Albert said. “I’m sick and tired of the whole thing.”

Also at Monday’s selectmen meeting, the board and School Committee voted to make official the appointment of Rita Miller to the School Committee. The Bristol County district attorney recommended the two groups reconvene because no roll call was made during the June 24 meeting at which Miller was first appointed.

Miller said after the meeting she was “very happy the process is over” and that she believes any animosity will be healed by the next School Committee meeting in September.

“I’m sorry it took so long, that it was so convoluted,” she said. “It was difficult on all of us.”

By Grant Welker
Herald News Staff Reporter

The Herald News

28 July 2008