Watkins joins energy conservation program
WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen board of trustees passed a resolution authorizing participation in an energy conservation program with Independent Energy Efficiency Program, Inc. at the board meeting held on Monday, May 21. Under this program, the resolution provides, that “one-tenth of one cent per kilowatt hour be collected for all retail sales each month.” The money collected is then deposited with the IEEP and utilized to fund various energy efficiency programs to benefit the village.
Minard LaFever, head of the electric department, fielded questions from the board concerning the IEEP. He explained that as the program is starting out, customers will be eligible for smaller items like energy efficient light bulbs or partial rebates on purchases of energy star appliances. As the program progresses, larger items like home insulation will become available, said LaFever. The goal of the program is to decrease overall energy usage in the village with these various rebates and incentives, which will offset the cost of the program. Lake Placid, according to LaFever, has decreased their energy usage substantially in the nearly 10 years of being involved with the IEEP. The surrounding municipalities of Bath, Penn Yan, Groton, Endicott and Skaneateles, along with many other municipalities throughout the state of New York, also participate in the IEEP.
The current residential electricity rate in the village is $0.03888 per kilowatt hour. Participation in the IEEP will raise the rate to $0.03988 per kilowatt hour, an increase of less than three percent.
Participation is contingent upon approval by Public Service Commission, Municipal Electric Utilities Association, Local Finance Law, New York Village Law and General Municipal Law. The village will participate in the IEEP for a term of 10 years unless board action is taken to cancel the participation at an earlier date.
In other business:
• The board voted to approve a proposed plan entitled “Watkins Glen Northern Gateway – Sketch Plan E” which suggests changes to the area where New York State Route 14 enters the village from the north. Mayor Mark Swinnerton pointed out, “it is not that everything [in the sketch] is set in stone... there are some items that need to be worked out.” He further explained that the focus should be on the improvements to Route 14 and that the long range, optional development pictured, including a 250 space parking garage is just that, optional. He said that the sketch had to be approved by the village so that Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development could begin to pursue grant funding for the project. The plan, which was prepared by Delta Engineers, calls for a welcome sign, a planted median and parking reconfigurations.
• The village auctioned off two village properties at a tax auction held on Tuesday, May 15. Clerk Donna Beardsley said that the auction was a success with the property located at 148 South Monroe St. sold for $11,000 and the property at 109 North Jackson St. sold for $22,300. This was the first auction held by the village in over a decade, and was “a learning experience,” said Beardsley. She said that in the future the village will likely hold auctions more frequently as she intends to begin foreclosure proceedings on properties after the taxes have been delinquent for over two years.
• The police department will again be rerouting traffic around the county building on Memorial Day for the ceremony scheduled to be held on the courthouse lawn. Traffic will be routed down 11th and Eighth Streets to Decatur for 30 minutes to an hour Monday morning. Trustee Scott Gibson said that the board agreed to the same request starting last year because in the past motorists would shout and honk during the Memorial Day ceremony. “It is the least we can do,” said Gibson.
The year end board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 31 at 5:15 p.m. The next regular board meeting is Monday, June 4 at 7 p.m.