Marion Submits Green Communities Application

The Marion Board of Selectmen held a special meeting on Thursday, October 25, to review a new Fuel Efficient Vehicle Policy and a new Energy Reduction Plan and sign them both just in time for the October 26 deadline to submit the Town’s application for status as a Green Community.

“These last two documents are the last two criteria that we need to approve in order to have our application considered for a Green Community status in the State of Massachusetts,” said Marion Energy Management member Jennifer Francis. “They’re both guidelines, really. One says that we will purchase energy efficient vehicles when the time comes to replace [other municipal] vehicles,” Francis said, although emergency response vehicles such as police cruisers, ambulances, and fire apparatuses are exempt from these fuel-efficiency requirements as a matter of public safety.

Town Planner Gil Hilario said he met with the police and fire chiefs last week and, although fuel-efficient emergency response vehicles are not yet available, both chiefs would commit to acquiring them in the future should they become available.

At this time, Francis said, there are only four vehicles the Town owns that would fall under the fuel efficiency plan.

“It won’t be hard … to find vehicles to meet the requirements to satisfy the document,” said Francis.

“I think there’s been strong support for it at Town Meeting and, I think, the drive that’s brought us here today,” said Hilario.

Fall Special Town Meeting voters on October 22 approved an article for up to $55,000 to purchase the four electric vehicles the Town currently leases. The leases and the accompanying electric car charging stations were originally made possible by grant funding.

The Energy Reduction Plan the selectmen signed that day follows an energy reduction audit town facilities underwent, which looked at the various buildings’ insulation, lighting, power usage, and heating and air cooling systems, among other things. Sippican School is by far the largest consumer of energy in the town, as are the schools in most other municipalities, which Green Communities Coordinator for the Southeast Region Seth Pickering pointed out is usually around 65-75% of the municipality’s energy consumption.

“In a town like this where we include the school in the baseline, the numbers are going to probably be very similar, that’s usually how it trends,” Pickering said.

With both documents signed, Pickering said the application would be electronically submitted the following day to the Southeast Regional Planning & Economic Development District and then forwarded to Department of Energy Resources for a preliminary review, checking for accuracy, and then contacting the Town should any further information need adjusting.

“Everybody’s application should be in good shape for the final review in a few weeks,” said Pickering, giving a thumbs-up.

The board as well as the others seated amongst them gave a round of applause for all the efforts put forth on the Green Communities front, along with a “Nice job, Gil!” from Selectman Randy Parker to Hilario and a special thanks to Francis.

“We have a great committee and we have a lot of good discussions and we’re always working on good stuff,” said Francis.

If Marion is approved as a Green Community, the town and another 30 municipalities applying for the status this year would tentatively join the other 210 Massachusetts Green Community municipalities.

The next regular meeting of the Marion Board of Selectmen is scheduled for November 6 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.

Marion Board of Selectmen

By Jean Perry

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