Meeting Date: January 14, 2020
The Wellfleet Selectboard meeting held on January 14, 2020, commenced at 6 p.m. The meeting began with announcements, open session, and public comments. During this phase, the board clarified that public comments should be brief and that no deliberations or votes would be conducted solely based on these comments. The board then called for any announcements or comments from the board members themselves.
One member of the board announced an upcoming meeting of the Herring River Executive Council, which includes representatives from the National Park Service and the town of Wellfleet. The meeting was scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. on Thursday at the Senior Center.
Another board member took the opportunity to greet everyone present and expressed their joy in being part of the Wellfleet community. This board member stated that they would continue to greet the audience with a cheerful “good evening Wellfleet” at every meeting.
Moving on, the board opened the floor for announcements from the public. A resident by the name of Kate Clemens introduced a request for new members to join the Wellfleet Commission on Disabilities. The commission aims to ensure that all individuals, including those with accessibility challenges, have equal opportunities to participate in and benefit from the town’s programs and services. More information about the commission and how to get involved can be found on the front page of the Wellfleet town’s website.
After hearing from the public, the board transitioned to the public hearing portion of the meeting. The topic for discussion was an amendment to the annual license fee for shellfish regulations. The amendment proposed a change in payment process by requiring grant holders to come to the town hall to give their grant reports and pay the fees for the upcoming year at the same time. This change was expected to streamline the process and ensure timely payment. The board clarified that there had been no negative feedback regarding this proposed amendment. The board then opened the floor for questions or comments on this matter, and upon receiving none, proceeded with a motion to amend the concerned section of the shellfishing policy and regulations. The amendment was approved unanimously.
Next on the agenda, the Energy and Climate Action Committee provided an update on their activities. They shared details about the Outer Cape Energize program, which aimed to promote carbon replacement technologies and energy conservation and efficiency in Wellfleet, Eastham, Truro, and Provincetown. This program was made possible through the support of select boards, administrators, and energy committees from the four towns, as well as partnerships with the Energy Center, Cape Light Compact, and Cape and Islands Self-Reliance.
The committee highlighted the success of the program, noting an increase in energy audits and conservation measures as a result of their efforts. They estimated that up to 20% of the audits conducted in the Outer Cape over the past two years were directly associated with the program. This translated to approximately $200,000 in value in terms of rebates and discounts for energy conservation measures. The program also provided education and advice on air source technologies and electric vehicles.
The committee reported that 134 solar systems had been installed through the program, resulting in an aggregate solar production of over 1.1 million kilowatt hours per year. This production was equivalent to the carbon offset of a thousand acres of forest annually. Homeowners received rebates totaling $37,000, and the aggregate electricity bill savings were estimated to be $264,000 per year or nearly $6.6 million over 25 years. The program also contributed to local economic development through investments in local contractors, suppliers, and businesses.
The committee also discussed the progress of their landfill solar project, which involved the installation of 2,358 solar panels. These panels were expected to produce approximately 140% of the town’s annual electricity consumption. The remaining 40% of the electricity generated was sold to the Nauset Regional School System to offset their electricity bills. Additionally, the town received lease payments for the land used and a payment in lieu of taxes. The committee clarified that they were working towards streamlining billing and credit allocation processes with eversource, with the goal of combining all the town’s bills into a single bill for easier management.
In conclusion, the Wellfleet Selectboard meeting addressed various announcements, including an upcoming executive council meeting, opportunities for community involvement in the Commission on Disabilities, and the review of shellfish regulations. The Energy and Climate Action Committee provided updates on their successful Outer Cape Energize program and landfill solar project. These initiatives demonstrated the town’s commitment to promoting energy efficiency, conservation, and environmental sustainability.