I was disappointed when I learned that solar wasn’t a fit for my home. Here in Montpelier, the city has launched a Net Zero initiative — meaning we will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by investing in renewable energy. I wanted to be a part of that movement. I wanted to do my part and power my life through solar power. Plus, I wanted to save money and smooth out my energy costs to avoid the unpredictable swings. I persevered, researched and discovered a way that I could help support solar in Vermont: Community Solar.
I’m a member of a (solar power generation equipment purveyor) community array and my membership serves both my own home and my rental property. When I talk to a new tenant, solar is the selling point. Tenants that move to Vermont want to know that their energy dollars support alternative energy growth. My tenants are jazzed and excited and feel like we’re on the cutting edge. And I’m able to use solar as my marketing tool.
Vermonters have the wonderful opportunity to be a part of their clean energy future. Not every state is so fortunate. I grew up in Pennsylvania and I could see the plumes coming from the nuclear power plant as they produced dirty fossil fuels. But here in Vermont we’ve set ourselves up for a healthier and cleaner existence with solar. It’s the next wave and we need to go after it. Our landscape is not only changing, it’s improving. When I see a solar array, I see progress.
Kyle Neyer, Warren and Montpelier
Neyer owns a duplex in Montpelier and lives in Warren
Meeting Participants Can Sway City Council
Admittedly the Montpelier City Council meeting I’m writing about took place some time ago. Nevertheless, in response to Rosalyn Morrell’s letter to the editor in the August 6–19 issue of The Bridge encouraging citizens to watch videos of council meetings to see how responsibly taxpayers’ money is spent, I was shocked to witness how easy it seemed to be to intimidate council members into spending tax dollars during a June 11, 2014 meeting I happened to attend.
Contrary to what Morrell wrote about the council session she was criticizing, district 3 councilman and professional chef Justin Turcotte did recuse himself during the June 2014 meeting when Montpelier Senior Center’s Director Janna Clar requested a grant to cover a $7,000 gap in his contract with Just Basics to provide on-site Feast and mobile Meals on Wheels lunches to seniors.
But when Mayor (John) Hollar asked Clar what seemed to me an entirely appropriate and logical question — what percentage of the on-site and Meals on Wheels recipients lived in areas covered by the Montpelier City Council — her answer was “It will reflect badly on all of you, depriving elder and handicapped people, if you don’t approve this.” Within what I estimate must have been less than five minutes the $7,000 grant was approved by all the council members, including Hollar.
Apparently Clar had not come to the session with the statistics Hollar requested. I don’t know if she didn’t want to admit that, didn’t want to spend the time it might have taken to amass those statistics, wanted immediate results or all three. Before making her request, she did read around four or five glowingly grateful letters she said she’d received from Meals on Wheels recipients. Considering the way she handled Hollar’s question I couldn’t help but wonder if these letters were unsolicited.
Seven thousand dollars is not a great deal of money. But a little here, a little there, apparently because council members didn’t want to be perceived as unsympathetic…
Carolyn Alberts, Montpelier
Wind Energy Developer Faces Opposition in Irasburg
The article headlined “Blittersdorf was not allowed to speak” (Barton Chronicle, August 10) regarding an Irasburg select board meeting is incorrect and misleading.
Most people understand one needs to have a presentation put on the agenda of a select board meeting. David Blittersdorf (founder and chief executive officer of All Earth Renewables) had not done this, even if he had there is a chance his presentation may have come up second.
This part is right, “The select board made it clear from the outset that people would be allowed to speak only when recognized by the board, and comments should be directed to the board, not to other members of the audience. That any new business would need to wait until the end.”
The meeting had already started when the people in the room recognized Blittersdorf had entered the room, at this time he stood with his topographical maps on presentation boards and asked to if he could say something . He was told new business would need to wait until what was on the agenda had concluded.
Blittersdorf was only shut down from speaking during the current agenda when some people tried to question Blittersdorf directly. At which point they were directed to keep their statements directed to the select board.
It was not until the subject on the agenda had concluded, when Blittersdorf stood with his presentation boards, that he was told by the chair that they did not believe anyone wanted to hear what he had to say, but if anyone wanted to hear what he had to say to please stay. At which point most everyone stood and exited the room and Blittersdorf handed the select board a formal letter of complaint for trying to keep him from speaking and informed about the meeting. For someone who claims to have “just come upon” the meeting, he seemed well armed for it. Yes, he probably had the presentation boards in his car. But unless he had a copier in his pocket, he had to have brought the letter with him.
Luann Therrien, Sheffield
What Do You Think?
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