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Rochester Next to Seek Electric Car Grants

Rochester Board of Selectmen

By Jean Perry

The Town of Rochester has decided to go green, following several other towns in the region that have gone after state grants to fund electric cars and charging stations for town use at little to no cost to the town.

Facilities Director Andrew Daniel told the Rochester Board of Selectmen on July 25 that he had read about Marion's recent acquisition of electric vehicles and contacted Marion Town Administrator Paul Dawson for some guidance. Daniel then contacted Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon for grant writing assistance.

The grant, called the Mass Electric Vehicle Incentive program, would cover the cost for a three-year lease on an electric car, which the town would acquire through a bidding process with electric vehicle dealerships. Another $10,000 grant would cover the cost of installation of two electric charging stations.

"Everybody wants to go green," said Daniel. "These are green cars," made of recycled and 100 percent recyclable materials. "At they're state-of-the-art vehicles. They're really sharp."

The town currently utilizes several outdated, high-mileage, high fuel usage vehicles for certain departments within the town boundaries, which would be replaced by the high-efficiency electric vehicles.

"We've tried to find a negative argument," said Daniel. "We really can't find one. It's a good deal."

Selectman Brad Morse said he sees a great need for electric vehicles in town and quickly made the motion to authorize Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar to sign any grant proposals on behalf of the Board of Selectmen.

"Look at our current fleet of vehicles," said Morse. He called them "junk vehicles" and said, "Get rid of 'em."

"As long as it doesn't cost the town money," said Selectman Richard Nunes.

"It sounds like a really great idea," said Selectmen Chairman Naida Parker.

In other matters, the board approved a new policy on Town Hall early closures, voting to make it an ongoing practice to close Town Hall at noon on Christmas Eve day, and 2:00 pm on Good Friday, New Year's Eve day, and the day before Thanksgiving.

The board also discussed the removal of bark mulch at the Police Station with Police Chief Paul Magee, who said new fire marshal regulations prohibit the placement of mulch within 18 inches of combustible material on public buildings due to a fire hazard. He suggested removing the mulch and replacing it with crushed stone, but agreed to any inexpensive alternative the selectmen might prefer.

Selectmen decided to take it under advisement and work with Szyndlar and Daniel on a cost-effective option.

The next meeting of the Rochester Board of Selectmen is scheduled for August 8 at 6:30 pm at the Rochester Town Hall.

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