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Board of aldermen discuss energy options

By Beth Mechum, Staff Writer

Energy was the name of the game at Tuesday night’s board of aldermen meeting at Carrboro Town Hall.

State Energy Office (SEO) Director Larry Shirley, who lives in Carrboro, was on hand to present a report from the office on what it has been up to and what sort of funding and financial assistance might be available for Carrboro.

The purpose of the presentation was to let the town know about American Recovery and Reinvestment Act initiatives the SEO has in place that could benefit Carrboro.

These include support for small businesses and industry for energy-saving measures, increasing the green workforce, fostering renewable energy and resource innovation, improving energy efficiency in town government, promoting residential energy efficiency and renewable energy and creating an energy-investment revolving loan fund.

Members of the board were particularly interested in promoting residential energy efficiency and asked questions about how to receive money to promote it.
Shirley said a search is underway to hire an outside director to handle those requests.

In consideration of the time and effort required to put together a grant application, the board asked how likely Carrboro is to receive money.

Alderman Lydia Lavelle asked how much credit Carrboro gets for the work the town already does in promoting energy efficiency.

“We should get a little bit of credit because we’re in a position to more effectively use those funds,” she said.

Shirley agreed and assured the board that would be taken into consideration.
Following Shirley’s presentation, planning board member Patricia McGuire presented ideas the town is already developing for ways to use potential SEO money, including a potential collaboration with Orange County and Hillsborough to establish an energy financing district program and participating in the national 14x Stimulus program to receive federal funds for energy initiatives.

Motions were made to receive both presentations and further discussions will be held in smaller staff meetings and in future board meetings. The SEO’s website, energync.net has more about the initiatives.

Also at the meeting, the board decided to co-sponsor Transition Carrboro/Chapel Hill, which will be held at the Century Center from May 13-16. In deciding to co-sponsor the event, the board is agreeing to waive the $931 in fees it would have cost the group to hold the event.

In other action:
• the town received $12,684 for the Safe Routes to School Non-Infrastructure Grant;

• the Recreation and Parks department received an $884 donation for the disc golf course;

• the board authorized the waiver of bidding procedures for the purchase of a refuse truck;

• the police department received $8,663 in grant revenues from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program;

• the town agreed to set three public hearings on the request for land-use text amendments;

• the town recommended Katherine Brooks to be appointed to the Orange County Services Advisory Board;

• the town entered into a municipal agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the planning of the Morgan Creek Greenway;

• and the board authorized the town manager to enter into an agreement with NCDOT for bridge inspection work.

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