Letters to the Editor: Nov. 2

Vote yes on Article 1

To the Editor:
On Nov. 7, we have an opportunity to address climate change, further the energy goals in our town plan and lock in long-term savings on the town’s electricity bills, simply by voting yes on Article 1.

Article 1 asks voters to authorize the installation of a solar energy system on the roof of the town garage for a cost of $282,510 ($197,757 after a federal rebate). This system will produce 94 percent of the energy required to power our town buildings: the library, senior center, town hall, garage, and fire and rescue. The town garage is designed with a geothermal energy system and, like the library, does not require fossil fuels for heating and cooling.

For the first 10 years, the combined cost for loan payments and electricity will be only slightly more than what the town currently pays for electricity alone; after that we’ll save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the project’s estimated lifetime of 35 to 40 years. For more information on costs and returns, see the FAQs published in the Oct. 19 edition of this newspaper and on the town’s website.

Our current town plan, approved by the voters on Nov. 5, 2019, includes the statement: “Charlotte will encourage greater use of renewables within municipal buildings.” A yes vote on Article 1 takes care of that requirement.
These days, the costs of climate change are being felt closer to home. A yes vote on Article 1 shows our commitment to addressing climate change by reducing fossil fuel use in our town buildings. As a town, we would be matching the commitment of more than 270 Charlotters who have added solar to their homes and landscapes.

Vermont’s energy plan calls for “90 percent renewable by 2050,” and for each town to do its fair share. Here in Charlotte, we have a long way to go, but approving solar for the town garage is a significant step. I am grateful to the hardworking volunteers on our energy committee and selectboard who have provided us with this opportunity.

Join me in voting yes on Article 1 on Nov. 7.

John Quinney
(John Quinney is publisher of The Charlotte News and chair of the board of directors. The opinions expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of the board or the newspaper.)

Dean Bloch says goodbye and thanks to Charlotte

Dear Charlotte Residents:

I feel incredibly lucky to have found a job and a town in April of 1999 that has fit me so well, I haven’t wanted to leave! First as Town Planner, then as Selectboard Assistant, and then as Town Administrator, I have tried to ascertain and then implement the “will” of town residents – and I feel proud of what we have accomplished together over the past 24 and a half years.

Charlotte has incredible beauty — what a great place to come to work everyday! But it’s really all of you that have made this job a real joy. Working with so many wonderful, thoughtful, intelligent, caring and hard-working people has inspired me to do my very best. I have certainly grown during my time here. Thank you for all you have given me.

I’ve also had the good fortune to have worked with skilled, diligent and dedicated staff, who I have also learned from, and who have helped the town accomplish its goals.

I am both comforted and excited on your behalf knowing that Nate Bareham will be taking over the reins of the position of Town Administrator. You are in good hands.

Please come say “so long” to me and “hello” to Nate on Tuesday, Nov. 28, from 5-7 p.m. at the Charlotte Senior Center. We hope to see you there, but if you’re not able to make it, you’re welcome to stop by the town office before the end of the month.

Thank you, and cheers,
Dean Bloch

Vote for garage solar panels helps environment, saves money
To the Editor:

Between now and Nov. 7 Charlotters will be voting on two articles concerning town policies. I am writing in support of Article 1, to approve the financing of solar panels on the town garage. Because of the Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress last year, municipalities are now eligible for the same renewable energy rebate that individual homeowners receive. This makes the adoption of photovoltaic solar panels to supply Charlotte’s electrical energy needs extremely cost effective.

The solar panels will provide 94 percent of the electricity used by town buildings, including the town hall, the library, the senior center, the town garage and the fire station. The $282,510 cost will be offset by a 30 percent federal rebate reducing the cost to $197,757. Because of an extremely favorable 2 percent annual interest rate from the Vermont Bond Bank, this investment will be paid off in 10 years with annual payments about what Charlotte is currently paying for its electricity. For a minimal increase in annual spending over 10 years, Charlotte will reap huge reductions in spending for decades beyond.

Almost everyone will agree that climate change is an existential threat to our way of life. The town garage has been designed to be fossil fuel-free and energy efficient using geothermal energy for heating. The solar project will further reduce Charlotte’s contribution to fossil fuel-driven CO2 emissions that drive climate change. It is a win-win proposition that will not only be good for the environment but will save Charlotte taxpayers money as well.

Vote YES on Article 1.

Mike Yantachka
(Mike Yantachka is a former state Representative from Charlotte.)