Arlington Energy Committee meeting – April 12, 2021 via Zoom, recorded
Next meeting: May 10, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. Watch for link from Nick Zaiac, or on Town website.
Present: Stephanie Moffett-Hynds (chair), Mary Ann Carlson, Mardi Crane, Bryan Dalton (secretary), Alexandra Ernst, Karen Lee, Garrett Siegel.
Guest: Town Administrator Nick Zaiac, Zoom host
· Town Hall LEDs: Select Board will decide on April 19.
· By-laws: Approved by AEC. Sending to Select Board.
· Window Dressers: Northshire WD meeting is April 15, Bennington Co. WD April 21.
· Farmer’s Market: We will appear at 3 Markets starting 6/18 at the Rec. Park
· New Business:
· Benedict Crossing Bridge closing poses a significant carbon impact
· May 10 meeting will focus on our Action Plan for rest of 2021.
Town Hall LED: Bryan will provide Nick more cost date for SB packets. Nick: SB is ready to approve, and open to convert Town Garage to LEDs and improve that workspace. Town would shop around to procure LED tubes.
By-laws: Garrett made motion to approve, allowing for small corrections of typos, Mary Ann seconded, AEC approved unanimously. Karen will send corrected version to Steph, who will send them to Nick for SB 5/3 agenda.
Farmer’s Market: We are signed up for 3 Fridays, starting June 18 in the Rec Park; will get more if they become available. Important opportunity to publicize Window Dressers, with a model to show.
· April 13, 9:00 a.m. Zoom with WD Maine: Topic: New VT Teams Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85917059991?pwd=K2JSVzhxb0drTHIwVWRyeUdiWDkzdz09 ,Meeting ID: 859 1705 9991, Passcode: 955902
· April 15, early evening: Northshire WD meeting.
· Wednesday, 4/21 at 6:15 pm: Bennington County WD Planning Meeting Join our Cloud HD Video Meeting, Meeting ID: 827 2717 7130, Passcode: 278057
WD urges that we do repeated publicity so people build to a decision.
Location for workshop: Steph learned from the priest of the Manchester Diocese that they hope to have a buyer for the former Catholic Church by June. Stephanie contacted the prospective buyers and they said that the WD project is exactly the kind of event they would like to see happen in the new space. She is going to see the space on Thursday. Has kitchen, bathrooms and ample parking. Question of funding may come up. Need to paint; maybe we could volunteer. [Parish House may be office space for nonprofits; Steph wonders if AEC could have a closet for our stuff. Nick said could also have space in Town Hall. With by-laws in place, AEC Chair could get keys to have meetings in Town Hall, which may be open as of July 1.
WD Volunteers: Alex, Garrett, Bryan so far.
Earth Day April 22. Steph will put WD blurb on What’s Happening in Arlington, telling people to stay tuned; and Nick will put it as an official note from AEC on Town’s page. Also: Earth Matters will be at Manchester roundabout 12:00-1:30, come in colorful exuberant dress, signs, to celebrate the planet.
Green Up Day May 1st. This is the 51st Year. Donna Squires organizes for Arlington. Status this year is not clear. Last year were about 10 families. Previously, handed out bags at Rec Park, people could pick up trash all weekend, return bags to Town Garage. Steph will keep trying to contact them. Bright t-shirts are sold by Green Up VT. [Website said to order by April 1 to get in time for May 1: https://www.mightycause.com/story/2g6ckf].
Bryan and Mary Ann (?) can help put up posters for Green Up Day.
AEC Recruiting: Need to get more people. Rich Lederer has asked to step back from active work with AEC, but will still be in a supportive role. The committee is tremendously grateful for all he has done for us, with us, and for the town.
Benedict’s Crossing Bridge closure carbon impact: Mardi noted the closing forces people to drive further, increasing carbon output; poses a safety issue if there is flooding. Nick calculated the high-end estimate of carbon impact of the bridge closure over eight years at maximum 1100 tons but a more realistic figure is 200-400 tons. Weekly (??) 270 trips are transferred to the other 3 bridges, including an additional 50-60 trips to the W. Arlington covered bridge, which will be closed for up to one week to be strengthened this year. We can’t get the bridge up faster. The bridge is not expected to score well in equations for grants or Federal funding: it is one of four bridges on that stretch of the river, a relatively short detour. Not sure the current infrastructure bill in Congress is for bridges. The $300,000 – 400,000 cost is one of the largest Town commitments over the next decade. It will mostly be covered by local taxes, structured in a sinking fund which voters approved on Town Meeting Day this year to be at the highest it’s been in decades, and augmented by a $40,000 surplus from the Highway Department. Material costs are flat in the long run absent major flux in cost of concrete and steel; labor costs fluctuate.
2021 Action Plan: Our May 10 meeting will focus on our Action Plan for the rest of 2021. Each member to bring forth a project or action to suggest. Review the Bennington Energy Committee Goals. They have a student on their board. Steph suggests we get student involvement in the AEC, maybe as part of an environmental group at AMHS.
Mardi reported that with her cold climate heat pumps powered by solar panels, she used no oil this winter and expenditure on electricity was one quarter what it used to be for electricity plus oil.