By: Staff Reports On: 12:41AM / Wednesday May 12, 2010
The city, like many municipalities, is pursuing a Green Communities designation. Michael Rosenburg, superintendent of public buildings and lead in the North Adams Energy Efficiency Initiative updated the City Council on Tuesday on the criteria and the city's progress so far.
The process was begun some years ago, which residents may not be aware of, said Rosenburg.
"Not many people know this is going on," he said. "I've given presentations before and people have been surprised we're doing this but it's been going on behind the scenes."
The most notable green effort was renovation of the library, which included a photovoltaic system and geothermal pump. It became the first public library certified as LEED.
More recently, the high school and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art have been awarded grants for photovoltaic systems; on the smaller side, some lights and trash cans are solar powered.
The city is also looking at uses for LED lights and a solar array at the landfill, and ways to reduce energy usage for its 45 buildings and 93 vehicles.
Rosenburg said his group met with National Grid and Berkshire Gas in January to discuss ways the city could find savings. National Grid is offering three free comprehensive energy audits that will be done at Drury High School, Brayton Elementary School and the water filtration facility. The newer schools were selected because a feasibility study will look at all the school buildings, the assumption being that significant work may be required to the older buildings.
A Green Communities Act requires the municipality to meet seven criteria, including setting an energy-use baseline from which to determine a reduction of 20 percent within five years. Rosenburg said 2009 — the worst year so far in energy use and the best documented — will likely set the baseline.
Language Changes Delays Action on Insurance Borrowing
By: By Tammy Daniels On: 02:47PM / Wednesday May 05, 2010
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council delayed action on Tuesday on a home-rule petition to borrow or amortize up to $880,000 at the request of the mayor.
Mayor Richard Alcombright said he'd received new language on the petition from state Department of Revenue just minutes before the council had scheduled a special meeting at 5 to act on the matter.
The borrowing, or amortization, would allow the city to pay the runout of the Medical Insurance Trust Fund for fiscal 2010. The city is dropping its self-insurance plan at the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1 in favor of similar coverage for its public employees through the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association.
"We wanted to get this ... in front of the Legislature and Sen. [Benjamin B.] Downing so they could get this Legislation out more quickly and approved more quickly," said Alcombright. "We sent the language to the Department of Revenue along with Rep. [Daniel E.] Bosley and Downing and thoguht everything was OK."
The modifications appeared minor but substantial enough that the mayor said he didn't want to amend the original draft; the DOR also wanted to discuss the language with him. The council postponed the matter until its regular meeting on May 11.
Among the changes was a reduction of the amount to $850,000, reduction of the borrowing time from seven years to five and expansion of DOR rights over the borrowing and disbursement procedures.
The mayor said he didn't expect the entire amount to be borrowed. Whatever is in the Medical Insurance Trust Fund at the end of the fiscal year will be used to reduce the amount, as well any leftovers once all the runout is paid for.
The former administration had underfunded the insurance account for at least several years, requiring more funds to be placed in the account, according to state law.
:: Preliminary Election: Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Office open from 8 to 8.)
:: General Election: Deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 18
Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.
Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk's office for the Sept. 27 preliminary city election. Voters may come in between the hours of 8 and 4:30 weekdays. Written reguests for mailed ballots can be sent to City Clerk's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Deadline for absentee ballots is Monday, Sept. 26, at noon.
The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, to narrow the field of three mayoral candidates to two. The general election to select nine city councilors and a mayor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.