Council discusses city energy plan

By TAYLOR

MURCHISON-

GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Much of this month’s City Council meeting was dedicated to discussion on the Mayor’s Energy Task Force (METF).

During Art Ward’s mayoral administration, the city established what was known as the Mayor’s Task Force on Energy Consumption. They had two main goals; to identify opportunities for “energy mitigation through improved efficiencies and a culture of conservation, and the increased use of clean and renewable energy sources.”

An initial plan was submitted in 2010, but it was not adopted, so the Task Force worked hard to revamp their plan. In the analysis and plan submitted by the METF, the 2014 fiscal year was used as the baseline because it was the year with the greatest energy use.

The data was collected by the EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager, an online system used to measure and track energy and water consumption, and the emissions of greenhouse gases. At present, the Public Works Facilities Manager manages this data, but the METF suggests following the leads of other Connecticut towns such as West Hartford, Hartford and Stamford, and hiring a full-time Certified Energy Manager.

Sean Dunn, standing in for the chair of the METF (Frank Stawski), gave the official presentation of the Energy Plan. “It’s been two and a half years, we’re very excited to now bring this forward to you in strat [sic] form,” said Dunn. “A lot has gone on in that two and a half years, things that you’ve seen now, hard things; LEDs in the entire community, fuel cells being considered for our water pollution plants. You’ve got other things going on around town that, probably, two and a half years ago were being considered and now they’re actually accomplished.”

Dunn explained that Bristol, as a city, signed a municipal pledge, making the town a member of the Clean Energy Community. Bristol has pledged to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent by the end of 2018. Dunn reported that Bristol is hovering around 13 percent. There are many suggestions in the Energy Plan to help close the last 7 percent.

“There are so many different ways to go about this, and we want to put these things forward to you,” said Dunn.

The energy plan can be found at the City Clerk’s office.

Another item of importance that was brought up at the meeting was the assessment of land and property values.

Bristol homeowners have recently received information from the city about their current property values.

Town assessor Thomas Denoto said that the last assessment was done in 2012. At that time, the construction for a brand new house was roughly $80 per square foot. In 2017, the cost of building a new house is roughly 27 percent higher; $110 per square foot.

“I want to talk to anybody who has concerns about their property values,” said Denoto. “Misinformation can change the entire dialogue.”

He stressed that he would be available to anyone with concerns about their property value, whether you believe is was misassessed or that you didn’t understand how that value was reached.