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Will Peru slow the wind?
PERU- No more than 24 residents of the more than 1,000 in the entire town attended a public hearing on Thursday night to gather the information they need to make an informed decision at the November 8 polls.
Citizens will see three questions on the ballot; the first, asking them if they would like to adopt an Industrial Wind Energy Facility Moratorium Ordinance, second, to see if they will approve selectmen to lease the former elementary school to the Friends of Peru Elementary School with no taxpayer funding, and third, to see if the town will authorize selectmen to take $7,000 from surplus to have a new well drilled for the town office.
Those present at the meeting seemed to understand that a new well needed to be drilled and didn’t spend much time discussing that issue. Selectman and town secretary, Kathy Hussey, noted that the water needs to run a few minutes when you first turn it on until it runs clear of black residue.
“We can’t expect the water to be clean,” noted Town Clerk Vera Parent. “There are only two of us using a water supply that was intended for more than 300 students and staff at one time.”
A few minutes were spent answering the question that was posed by citizen, Rick Wilson, in regards to who would pay the insurance on the former school if the FPES were to lease the building.
“It was told to me by a selectman that the insurance would be paid by the town,” stated Wilson. “Therefore, isn’t that taxpayer funding?”
Selectman Kathy Hussey corrected Wilson, stating, “Yes, the insurance is the town’s responsibility, but since the FPES would be our (the town) tenant, we would invoice them for the amount of the insurance and they would be responsible for paying the town.”
Nick Waugh, president of FPES noted, “I’m willing to put up $10,000 of my own money to get this project off the ground. We had a very successful and fun first fundraiser on Sunday with our turkey shoot. We are even planning another one for the spring.”
With that question clear, those present seemed to understand that they would make money, and even save money by leasing the building to the FPES, whereas, if they vote to raze (tear down) the building, they would have to bid out for a price to completely rid the building of the site.
The hot topic of the night was that of a potential adoption of a wind energy moratorium. The town will see the following information on the referendum ballot November 8; the town presently has no ordinance for Wind Energy Facilities though the selectmen have been informed of a forthcoming building permit for the erection of a wind test tower. The wind ordinance committee is working to create an ordinance; however, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is indecisive on some information (noise levels) that is critical in the formation of said ordinance. This moratorium ordinance will allow the committee time to further their work without having to initiate an emergency moratorium or act on a building permit without a moratorium in place.
The selectmen approved the erection of a wind test tower to be placed on Black Mountain between Peru and Sumner last month.
Bill Hine of the wind ordinance committee noted, “Saying yes to the town to adopt a wind moratorium essentially allows us time to see how these towers work in our area. What are the setbacks? What would be the proper decision for Peru? It would give us 180 days from November 8 to research and find out for ourselves how and if our town will benefit from the wind or lack thereof.”
If the town were to have no ordinance in place, the wind energy facilities would not have to go through them for permitting, instead, they would go through the DEP and the town wouldn’t have a say.
Citizens were urged to make an informed vote at the polls and if they have questions to contact the town selectmen for answers. Parent also reminded citizens that they have until Thursday, November 3 to pick up their absentee ballot from the town office due to the new state law.
Voting will be held on November 8, at the town office from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.