T he town of Hartford is exploring the possibility of solar.
Supervisor Dana Haff said he and Highway Superintendent Greg Brown intended to reach out to solar providers to determine if the option was economically feasible for the town.
“If we can cut our bill in half and it costs nothing I think it’s worth looking at,” Haff said.
The town currently pays for electricity at the town offices, the “town barn,” the Hartford Museum and for street lights. The latter costs approximately $6,000 a year.
“Right now, we’re examining our total kilowatts per hour,” Haff said.
Haff said the town wouldn’t purchase solar panels, but would instead allow the company to install the panels in exchange for a credit that could be applied to the town’s electric costs.
That kind of agreement would be similar to one forged between the Hartford Central School District and U.S. Light Energy.
The district has contracted the company to install solar panels at the district’s bus garage. The ground-mounted system is expected to produce 100 percent of the power for the bus garage and about 80 percent of the power for the school itself. A rooftop system would also be installed at the district’s technology building.
Officials have estimated the panels could save the district as much as $65,000 in energy costs. The district’s has budgeted nearly $90,000 for energy costs during the 2013-14 school year.
The Hartford Fire Department is also in the initial stages of having solar panels erected near the firehouse at the intersection of Routes 40 and 149. Stanchions have already been installed and the panels are expected to be put in later this summer or this fall.
Haff said officials have already spoke with representatives from Solar City, a solar provider whose closest location locally is in the Albany area, and intend on speaking with a number of other locally-based companies.
Officials hope to have more information this fall and if it makes financial sense, the town board will determine whether it’s something the town should pursue.
“It’s the future,” Mark Miller, code enforcement officer said.
In other matters, Haff said the town continues to negotiate with Washington County about maintenance of County Routes 23 and 23A, the main thoroughfare through Hartford’s downtown district.
The roads are currently maintained by Washington County, but officials have expressed their desire for the town to maintain the road. Town trucks already travel the route on their way to other town roads.
Initially the town had hoped to maintain the road in exchanged for monetary considerations, but Haff said the county “was not excited about paying us.”
So officials are now exploring the possibility of exchanging jurisdiction of roads. The town has asked the county if they would be interested in maintaining Shine Hill Road which runs from Route 196 to Route 40. In exchange Hartford would maintain Routes 23 and 23A.
Haff said Shine Hill Road is longer than Route 23 and 23A but the latter roads are wider and would require roughly the same amount of care. The only hang-up from the town’s perspective is Routes 23 and 23A need to be paved while Shine Hill Road was recently paved and has new culverts.
“It’s basically a new road,” Haff said.
Haff sound the county is considered the proposal and the two sides will continue to negotiate.
The town appointed two new members to its youth commission.
Adam Fish was appointed to the remainder of a five-year term vacated by Allison Getty. His term will expire on Dec. 31, 2019.
And Sam Irwin was named an alternate. His term will expire on Dec. 31, 2016.