Dukes County Commission
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Dukes County Administration Building
9 Airport Road, Edgartown, MA
Commissioner Present: Tristan Israel, Melinda Loberg, Les Leland, Lenny Jason, Tom Hallahan.
Not present: John Alley, Carlene Gatting
County Staff present: Russell H. Smith – County Manager, Martina Thornton – Ex. Assistant, Noreen Mavro Flanders – Treasurer, Sean Flynn – Airport Manager, Deb Potter – Airport Administrator, Peter Cabana – county’s representative to Cape Light Compact and Cape & Vineyard Electric Coop (CVEC), T.J. Hegarty – Integrated Pest Management Director, Carol Grant – Assistant Treasurer *
*Others: Maggie Downy – CVEC, Bill Straw, Woody & Phyllis Williams, Remy Tumin of Vineyard Gazette, Joanie Ames – MVTV.
Meeting was called to order at 5:05 PM
1. Cape & Vineyard Electric Coop. (CVEC) – Maggie Downy (presentation attached)
Maggie presented the Commissioners with information regarding CVEC activities. The goal is to stabilize electric rates for the participating municipalities. CVEC has 19 members including Tisbury, West Tisbury, Edgartown and Dukes County. The first round of solar installations in 2009 had richer rebates. Edgartown participated with three green field sites and Tisbury with one site. It will result in net metering credits and savings as projected in the document. There are no costs up front, all is financed by the vendor and there are penalties built in to the contract to make sure they will produce min. amount of KWh and maintain the equipment, there is construction and performance bonds to ensure it. There is also an option to purchase the equipment by CVEC at the end of the lease (once private owners maximize their tax incentives). The
second round of RFPs deadline is in August 2011 with two options – ground mounted or roof mounted PVs. If the county wants to participate, it needs to send a Letter of Intent to CVEC, which identifies the site and commit to work exclusively with CVEC through December 2011 and to provide all documents necessary. It does not bind the County to move forward on the project. The Barnstable Municipal Airport (also an enterprise fund and all revenue generated will stay with the airport) will participate in this second round with the understanding that there will be a FAA and Dept. of Transportation approvals needed. The MV Airport could participate as well with stipulation in the RFP that a “final approvals for this site have not obtained”, the projects can be removed from the RFP, but once the RFP is issued it can not be added. There is a cap on net metering in Southeast Massachusetts at 99MW for government projects, of which 51MW is already in process (8MW installed). Once the cap is
reached the payment schedule for these projects will change. There is also a cap on each project at 6MW, which would represent about 30 acres (5 acres per 1MW). The legal counsels would need to talk about who will sign the intergovernmental agreement with CVEC - the Power Purchase Agreement and the Lease Agreement (if the land owner – Dukes County, or the manager – MV Airport). CVEC would sublease the property to the private entity to maximize the tax incentives. The agreements would not be signed until the vendor is selected (December this year). Maggie can provide drafts of all the agreements.
Round three would be sometime in 2012. Sean asked if the Letter of intent would include us in the RFP and who would own the SREC (solar renewable energy certificate), which are also marketable. Maggie said that we would be included in the RFP and the SREC and the energy would be owned by the developer. We could keep the SREC but then the purchase agreement price would go up (about 5-8 cents per kWh). Right now the price of SRECs is set for the first 10 years of the project. Every energy supplier is required to have certain percentage of SRECs in their portfolio.
Peter Cabana said that he spoke with Russell and Sean about a development at the Airport. He explained the attached plan. There have been no complains so far from airports that already installed solar panels. There could be a development done directly on airport property or along the fire lanes in the State Forest. He is working with Rep. Madden and Senator Wolf on increasing the cap of net metering for these projects or possibly to exclude CVEC from the cap.
Sean said that the area that Peter identified at the Airport is currently reserved for aviation use and the Master Plan would have to be updated in order for the FAA to release it. There would be an environmental impact study required. Last Master Plan took three years. All needed steps can not be done in the near future. He already received about seven other proposals for development of PVs at the Airport. Another option would be for the Airport to do the project themselves, take advantage of the net metering credit program for their electric needs and trade the SRECs themselves.
*Carol Grant entered the meeting.
A possible site would be a Steamship Authority property at the business park if they turn it back – about 4 acres. What Peter proposes is much broader scale and it would need FAA approval. After change of the designation of the area if it is decided that the benefit should go beyond the Airport to the community, the County could lease the property from the Airport at “fair market value” and develop relationship with CVEC to realize the project. He feels that it would not be in the Airport’s interest to rush this for round II as the Airport received $27M in grants and must play by the FAA rules. He suggested for Peter to meet with the Airport’s Land-use Sub-committee and start working on developing a smaller project for the benefit of the Airport and possible long-term goals. Vineyard Power identified a smaller piece (4 acres) at the business
park that is designated for industrial use. Russell said that the bigger piece (30 acres) identified at the Airport is ideal due to the fact that there are diesel generators there already.
Peter said that the east-west fire lanes at the State Forest would be good too and he is working with Senator Wolf and Rep. Madden to get an answer if it could be used for that purpose. State would have to issue a permit slip for CVEC, which will not happen for this round of RFPs.
Maggie explained the difference between CVEC and Vineyard Power. Both are non-profit member cooperatives. CVEC’s members are only public governmental entities (can issue tax-exempt debt), while Vineyard Power is more of a traditional coop with individual community members. CVEC’s primary focus is to bring benefit to the municipalities and to their tax payers by lowering the price of electricity through energy projects. The CVEC is a rural electric coop and is eligible for funding by Rural Utility Service at low interest rate, which could lower the power purchase price and enrich savings. Sean said that important evaluation criteria for the development would be what is the most beneficial to the entity. Tristan appointed Tom and Lenny to attend the Airport’ Land-use Subcommittee meeting in September scheduled for this purpose and discuss
further the cooperation between the County and the Airport to do PV projects at the Airport. Sean confirmed that PV installation even for Airport use only would not be considered an aviation use. Lenny asked for a letter to be sent to the Airport Commission to inform them of the County’s intent to lease the land for the development for community benefit. Sean said he understands Lenny’s position but the correspondence from the county representatives was not so clear and he would like for everyone to come to the subcommittee meeting to clarify and further discuss the issues. Sean agreed that there is a mutual desire to develop a site for the benefit of the island community and not only for the Airport. Peter suggested inviting Sen. Wolf’s chief of staff to the meeting as well.
Tristan mentioned that there is a July report from the Cape Light Compact in correspondence.
*Maggie, Noreen, Bill and Peter left.
2. Minutes 7-13-2011
Tom/Les moved to approve the Minutes of 7-13-2011. So voted. All in favor.
3. OPEB Trust
Tom/Melinda moved to appoint Noreen Mavro Flanders as the County’s representative to the OPEB Trust until March 2012. All in favor.
4. Management Letter
Noreen said that if the Commissioners have any questions to contact her. The County Commissioners are the ones to put the financial policies and procedures in place and decide about the reserve policy (#3). Russell said he will contact the other counties to see what they are using as % of their budget for a capital reserve fund. Policy since Russell started was to put more money into the reserve fund and not spend it. Melinda said that we talked about creating a reserve fund before and agreed that it should be about $100K. Noreen said that we keep it all in an unreserved fund. MGL Chapter 35 Sec. 30 dictates that we do not keep more than 10% of the prior year’s assessed tax in an undesignated fund. Sean said that this was discussed at one of the County Advisory Board meetings and that the County could create a general stabilization fund or
capital reserve fund. Noreen said we should have a capital plan in order to create a capital reserve fund. We are also facing covering the OPEB liabilities and we should put some money aside for that. She agreed to help Russell with that.
Tristan asked about #8 – airport allocations issue. Noreen said that that was resolved. The Airport produces warrants now for the allocation before it is taken out.
Noreen said that the general fund revenue projection for FY2011 was exceeded by $59K. There will be additional $25K when the cost of allocation accrues from the Airport. The expense side can not exceed the budget.
5. Integrated Pest Management – covering the shortfall
T.J. increased his revenue projection for FY12 and would like to transfer the remainder from the Mosquito Fund (see letter attached). Russell said that Oak Bluffs joined the mosquito testing program for the reminder of the summer. They will not receive the IPM services. Lenny asked if we can take money from the Mosquito Fund and move it to IPM general budget. Noreen said yes because T.J. is paid from the IPM budget for his time he puts into mosquito testing and this would be reimbursement for that time. Martina asked what would be the exact amount for increase in revenue and transfer as the numbers in T.J.’s letter were off by $500. Tristan asked to clarify this before the next CAB meeting.
* T.J. left.
6. Manager’s Report
Veterans’ update – e-mail from Mr. Antonaccio (see attached). Tom was in contact with Congressman Keating’s staff and they assured him that the Congressman would like to meet with all involved groups in September. Woody Williams said that the VA did not inform the veterans of end of the contract or what to do and they did not inform Jo Ann either. This is now going on for year and half. Tristan and Melinda will attend the breakfast meeting with Senator Scott Brown and will bring with them copy of the prior letter asking for help and invite him to the same meeting when Congressman Keating is here.
Tristan asked Russell to start scheduling meetings in different towns again and if there will be no response to our effort after this round we might consider changing the Administrative Code to the original wording that will not require us to do it. Lenny and Melinda agreed. Tom and Les did not want to do the meetings in other towns anymore.
Tristan asked Russell to come up in two weeks with candidates to be appointed to the Personnel Board.
Melinda said she would like to add for the Manager to research and come up with ideas for grant writing possibility for the County. Tristan said Russell should inform the towns to see if there would be support for this idea.
Martina thanked the town of West Tisbury for the “new” copier (4 years old) and Brian Kennedy and his crew for assistance in moving it to the county building.
Melinda/Les moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:55 p.m. All in favor.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts
Documents presented at the meeting and part of the official records:
- Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CVEC) presentation
- Map of potential sites for solar Arrays within and around the Airport
- General Fund Revenue report
- Letter from T.J. Hegarty
- Update letter from Mr. Antonaccio
- Old Business List
- Cape Light Compact July report