MENDON – Residents at special Town Meeting last night agreed to spend $3,000 for a study to determine whether two spots in town are suitable for wind turbines.
Testing will be conducted at the Mendon fire tower near the Millville line, selectmen Chairman Lawney Tinio said, because it is the highest spot in town, but that site is not one of the two locations under consideration.
Rather, Inman Hill and Mendon Hill, which is located off Rte. 16 near the Hopedale line, are the potential places for the turbines.
“In order to receive federal funding or any type of grant (to build the turbines), we have to do this study to prove Mendon has sustainable wind,” Tinio said.
The yearlong study costs $12,000. Residents will be asked at annual Town Meeting to pay another $3,000. The remaining $6,000 will come from a Blackstone resident, whom Tinio did not identify.
The calculations could benefit that person, Tinio said, because he is looking to possibly build a turbine near the Inman Hill location.
“It’s kind of nice they’re donating half the money because once we do the study it becomes a public document and he could have it for free,” Tinio said.
The selectman said the wind study “is so preliminary right now” and that the town will hold public hearings and forums to address any concerns over noise and environmental impact before any turbine is built.
Selectman Michael Ammendolia noted there are wind turbines on Cape Cod and Mount Wachusett, saying their users have been “quite happy with them.”
“That’s the way of the future and I think this is a good opportunity for us to look into it,” he said.
About 50 people attended the special Town Meeting, held at Miscoe Hill School. They also approved the other four warrant articles, which included money for the Public Safety Department and Conservation Commission.
The biggest-ticket item came from the Highway Department. The residents approved Surveyor Alan Tetreault’s request for $122,000 from the town’s stabilization account to purchase a heavy duty truck that previously served as a demo in shows.
The vehicle will serve as a dump truck and sander, replacing the department’s 1985 sander that broke down during a snowstorm this winter.
Before last night, stabilization had $680,099.
Hartford Avenue East resident Sharon Cutler said she was “a little concerned with almost 20 percent of stabilization being spent.”
“We had a recommendation from the Long-Range Financial Planning Committee that anything over $100,000 should come out as a debt exclusion,” she said. “We have an annual Town Meeting coming up in May. I’m just wondering why we’re not going that direction.
“I am concerned that this money will not go back into stabilization and it’s a big chunk,” Cutler said.
The article required a two-thirds vote because it moved money out of stabilization.
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