Monthly Archives: April 2016

Solar PV – X3

solar PV-2

The town is jumping from having no solar PV arrays at all, to soon having two, and potentially three (if town meeting agrees on Monday).

  • Waste Water Treatment Plant – The 237KW  solar array at the Waste Water Treatment Plant is already constructed and scheduled to  start electricity generation following the ribbon cutting next Thursday at 10AM.
  • Public Safety Building – The new Public Safety Building was designed for a roof mounted solar array, but installing it was not part of the original bids due to concerns over adding to the costs.  That array was previously going forward as a 63KW roof mounted solar array, funded via a change order, spending some of the construction savings, until the state recently allowed the its incentives to run out, at which time that array was put on hold.  When the state legislation recently extended the state incentives, the economies of that array became attractive again, so that array has again been put on track to proceed as a change order to the original contract, spending some of the unexpended contingency monies to do that installation.
  • DPW Garage – The DPW Garage was designed solar ready, and the Energy Committee has been looking at doing a 150KW solar array there too, but that plan was also held in abeyance by the state allowing its incentives to expire, making the return on solar PV arrays less attractive.  There is $240,000 of appropriated monies left over from the solar array at the WWTP, the cost of which came in a lot under budget, and those monies are the  subject of  the ATM article 24 – to allow the transfer of those funds to be used for a solar PV array on the Garage.  However, the estimated cost of the Garage solar array is $383,000, so the project was about $150,000 short.  Mike Sullivan and Martha Festa, the Warrant Committee chair, yesterday crafted a solution, an amendment to the operating budget at the ATM, as the mechanism to obtain those monies at this late date, which can allow the Garage solar array to proceed.

The timing of the Public Safety Building and DPW Garage solar projects is important because the state incentives are going to change at  the end of 2017, making the economics of such solar arrays less advantageous – so because of the recent legislative changes, it became a do it now or not at all proposition.

 

 

Stretch code at ATM

This from the Energy Committee about the town meeting article looking to adopt the stretch code, thereby become a Green Community, and thereby get the DOER $148,000 grant for doing so –


MEC

Vote YES  on Article #34

 

Help Medfield qualify for a $148,000 Energy Savings grant.

 

Massachusetts regularly updates the State Building Code to improve quality, safety and energy efficiency of construction in the Commonwealth.  The Building Code is the “stick” to encourage improvements in construction. By adopting the Stretch Energy Code, Medfield, like 161 other Massachusetts towns, would be an early adopter of what eventually will become the next State Building Code.  The “carrot” for Medfield to be an early adopter is a grant of $148,000 which will be used to improve Town building energy efficiency.

 

Massachusetts has been recognized as the nations leader in energy efficiency for the past five years.*  As Governor Baker said “Energy efficiency is the most cost effective, accessible way for Massachusetts to meet our clean energy goals and help ratepayers manage their energy costs. “

 

The Green Communities program, run by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), encourages towns in the state to cut their energy usage and to simplify siting of renewable energy.

Substantial dollar grants are given to towns that meet 5 Green Communities criteria:

#1 Provide siting for renewable energy

#2 Enable permitting within one year for renewable energy

#3 Develop a plan for reducing municipal energy use by 20% over 5 years

#4 Enact an energy efficient vehicle policy

#5 Minimize life-cycle cost for new construction

 

The Medfield Energy Committee has been working for 4 years to qualify Medfield as a Green Community and to earn a $148,000 grant with the potential of $250,000 annual grants thereafter.

Our progress:

  • Criteria #1 & #2 were met by the Solar Photovoltaic By-Law passed at the 2014 Town Meeting.
  • Criteria #4 was achieved when an Energy Efficient Vehicle Policy was adopted by the Select Board and School Committee in 2015.
  • Criteria #3, a plan for 20% reduction in Town energy usage, is being developed by the Town Energy Manager, Andrew Seaman.
  • Criteria #5, will be met by adopting the 9th edition of the Stretch Energy Code : Article #34

 

At the 2014 Town Meeting, a warrant article to adopt a Stretch Energy Code was voted down.

 

Now, in 2016, the situation has changed:

  1. The Massachusetts Building Code went into effect on July 1, 2014 with an updated Base Energy Code. The result is that today all new construction and renovation must meet a code that is basically the same Stretch Energy Code that was rejected at the April 2014 Town Meeting.
  2. The Stretch Energy Code does not include any new requirements for residential renovations or additions. The sole change from the Base Energy Code is the requirement for new residential construction to use a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index.  The HERS Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured.
  3. For new commercial buildings, the Stretch Energy Code requires the construction to be 10% more efficient than the Base Energy Code.
  4. 161 Massachusetts towns have adopted the Stretch Energy Code

 

 

In summary:  Building Energy Codes are a “stick” to make sure building life-cycle costs improve.  DOER’s $148,000 grant is a “carrot” rewarding early adopters of Stretch Energy Code.

 

  • Vote yes on Article #34 to get the “carrot” with the “stick”
  • Vote no on Article #34 only get the “stick”

 

Article #34 supported by

  • Board of Selectmen
  • Warrant Committee
  • Energy Committee

 Permanent Building Committee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

* American Council for Energy- Efficient Economy and the US Department of Energy.

 

ATM Monday

The annual town meeting is Monday evening at the MHS gym 7:30 pm.

The Warrant was mailed to all households and is also available online at the town website.

Hospital Road paving today

Hospital Road is  being repaved as part of the contract from last summer to lay the new water line from well #6, which is off Rte.27 next to the Charles  River, to the new water tower at the MSH.

This tweet from the MPD –


Hospital Road in Medfield closed Thursday and Friday for paving. Detour in place.

Solarize Medfield

Selectmen signed an agreement Tuesday this week to officially launch Solarize Medfield – http://www.solarizemedfield.org/ – great website.  This from the website –

Solarize Medfield

Medfield meets Solar

The Town of Medfield has been selected to participate in the “Solarize Massachusetts” grant program, which is designed to promote solar photovoltaic (PV) installations on homes and small businesses in selected communities across the state. The Solarize Massachusetts grant program is co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (Mass CEC) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, Green Communities Division.

The Solarize Medfield team’s goal is to increase the adoption of solar energy systems through a grassroots educational campaign, driven mainly by Medfield volunteers, and partnered with an Installer to be selected, with a tiered pricing structure that increases the savings for everyone as more home and business owners in town sign up.

Mass CEC will provide us their technical and marketing expertise and guidance, to help bring us a wide variety of vender proposals. Our Request For Proposal (RFP) will be going out shortly so that vendors can begin bidding to be Medfield’s installer.

How the program works

Once a vendor is selected, each homeowner will contact the vendor for a free evaluation and quote to install solar on their property. The vendor will explain the details of the install and evaluate the homeowner’s property. Some properties may not be optimally situated for solar.

The vendor will then install the system, provide training, manage all the paperwork needed, and handle all owner issues directly. It is because the quality of service really matters that only top rated vendors will be considered.

Once your contract is signed, the system adds to the tiered pricing formula. If following tiers are reached after you sign, the vendor will refund the difference to you.

The Solarize Medfield program will have two Solar Coaches available to help you through the process. The Solarize Medfield team will also be hosting live information events as well as producing informational videos. This website will also be updated regularly to keep the information current.

MHS #4 in MA & #154 in US

MHS sigh

US News & World Reports rates MHS as #4 in Massachusetts and #154 nationally.

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/massachusetts/rankings?schooltypepublic=y&schooltypemagnet=y&schooltypecharter=y

Medfield earmarks proposed

State-House-smaller_1 (1)

Per an email from John Nunnari, Representative Shawn Dooley is asking for monies for Medfield in the state budget

  • to repair the West Street bridge to Millis, and
  • for a chest compressor for the MFD

Two amendments filed to the House budget and up for consideration during next weeks debate.

john

 

AmdID Amd# Sponsor Sponsor Title Amending DEP Description InstaTrac Summary Amount Requested Increase Earmark HFY16 Comment
2017H0306 306 Shawn Dooley Medfield Fire Department Purchase 8324-0000 DFS Department of Fire Services Administration Earmarks $15,000 to the Medfield Fire Department for the purchase of an automatic chest compression device and/or associated materials, and increases the item by the same amount. $20,799,781 $20,814,781 $15,000 $15,000 2016H0486 Amendment #486 in FY16, this item was excluded from a bundle in last year’s budget.
2017H0310 310 Shawn Dooley Maintenance of the West Street Bridge in the towns of Medfield and Millis 1599-0026 ANF Municipal Regionalization and Efficiencies Incentive Reserve Earmarks $1,000,000 for the maintenance of the West Street Bridge in the towns of Medfield and Millis, and increases the item by the same amount. $5,240,000 $6,240,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000

 

 

John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA

Image

Solar PV ribbon cutting

20160419-Medfield Solar Ribbon Cutting

ATM articles status

town meeting

These two emails from Mike with his update on money warrant articles –


Information is coming in fast and furious as we approach town meeting. Fortunately, it’s just about all good news. The following are proposed changes to the articles and budgets that you should take into account. Some of them you will need to amend your votes.

  1. Article 29. The Council on Aging has decided to withdraw its article seeking funding plans for an addition to the CENTER at Medfield. This was for $100,000 to come from funds the COA already had on hand so it doesn’t  change the tax levy. This will be added to the Consent Calendar as a dismissal.
  2. Article 28, Park & Rec is changing the wording of Article 28 to make it a “programmatic and financial needs analysis for a Park and Recreation facility instead of for plans for a new facility. They originally were looking for $100,000, which dropped to $40,000 and then went up to $60,000. The monies will come from Park & Rec Revolving Funds so it will not affect the tax levy.
  3. Article 37, which sought $50,000 from the Sewer Enterprise Fund for complying with the federal EPA Stormwater Permit application and implementation will be added to the Consent Calendar as a dismissal. I thought it was for a discharge permit for the Wastewater Treatment Plant, but it’s for a federally mandated Stormwater Permitting process that is townwide and not just for the treatment plant. The funds will be requested next year from the General Fund. The application is due in September of 2017.
  4. We met with our Property and Casualty and Worker’s Compensation insurance carrier this week and will need to make the following changes to the Insurance Budgets

Worker’s Compensation: reduce the requested appropriation by $32,937 to $230,000. A couple of our bad claims, which stay on the books for three years from the date of filing, are coming off, which will reduce out Experience Modification Factor and, consequently, reduce our Worker’s Compensation premiums.

Liability: increase the requested appropriation by $10,000 to $208,000. Next year we will have additional premium payments for the Public Safety Building, which is scheduled to com on line in October and for the new artificial surface at the High School multi-purpose field, which is scheduled to come on line by the opening of school in September.

  1. The House of Representative budget, which passed this week raised the minimum per student Chapter 70 Education Aid from the $20/student that the Governor included in his budget request, to $55/student. This, if it’s the final figure, would result in an increase of about $87,000. However, the Senate will not pass it’s budget until May and then a conference committee will be appointed to work out the differences. To be conservative, I’m sticking with the Governor’s lower figure for Chapter 70 Education Aid. If the figure comes in higher we can adjust the local aid amounts prior to setting the tax fy17 tax rate.
  2. Joy pointed out that we are raising $7,154 in the Water Enterprise Fund and $33,400 in the Sewer Enterprise Fund or a total of $40,554. to cover the Water and Sewer OPEB liabilities. This allows us to reduce the amount be taken from General Fund free cash to fund the OPEB liability to $121,947 from the original amount of $162,947 and still appropriate $400,000 to the OPEB Trust.
  3. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that we will have no more snow this season, so we can remove the $50,000 we are still carrying for a snow deficit expense.
  4. That’s all for now, but don’t be surprised if there are more changes next week. On Tuesday the bids for the School field will be opened so that may result in some additional changes. I’m attaching an update on the tax levy calculation based on the above. The net result is a decrease of $172,000 in the additional free cash we will need to use to balance the budget.  If the House Chapter 70 Education vote stands, this would reduce this to just over $100,000. Enjoy the weekend weather and let’s hope there’s more good news. Please let me know if you concur with the above recommendations..

Mike


Things are changing faster than I thought. Two minutes after I sent you my email on the budgets, I got an email from our insurance carrier that we would be receiving a participation credit on our Liability Insurance coverages, As a result we can leave that requested appropriation at $198,000 rather than increasing it to $208,000. Mike S.

 

House budget #s

The House released its proposed budget numbers, and we do about $200,000 better than last year with their proposal.  The Governor gave us about $100,000 more than last year.  Usually our numbers do not go down, and the Senate which weighs in last often increases our total state aid.   The Governor did revenue sharing by increasing part of our state aid by the same 4.3% that the state’s revenues increased, and the House extends that 4.3% increase to more state aid items. I am not sure why our Charter Tuition Reimbursement has gone up so much on a percentage basis.

20160414-house budget

Below is the report and instant analysis from the MMA yesterday afternoon on the state budget as it affects municipalities.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE OFFERS $39.5B FY 2017 STATE BUDGET THAT MAKES KEY INVESTMENTS IN MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL AID
• INCLUDES THE FULL $42M INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID (UGGA)
• INCREASES CHAPTER 70 BY $24M TO FUND MINIMUM AID AT $55 PER STUDENT
•ADDS A $10M RESERVE TO AID COMMUNITIES WITH LOW-INCOME STUDENTS
• ADDS $5M TO FUND THE SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER
• ADDS $1M MORE FOR REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION
• LEVEL-FUNDS MOST OTHER MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL ACCOUNTS

Earlier this afternoon, the House Ways and Means Committee reported out a lean $39.5 billion fiscal 2017 state budget plan to increase overall state expenditures by 3.3 percent. The House Ways and Means budget is $76 million smaller than the budget filed by the Governor in March, yet it also increases Chapter 70 aid by $24 million above the Governor’s recommendation by increasing minimum aid from $20 per student to $55 per student, and also includes a new $10 million reserve to aid communities impacted by changes in the calculations used to account for low-income students. The full House will debate the fiscal 2017 state budget during the week of April 25.

H. 4200, the House Ways and Means budget, provides strong progress on many important local aid priorities, including the full $42 million increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid that the Governor proposed and communities are counting on. The House W&M Committee would increase funding for several major aid programs, by adding $5 million to the Special Education Circuit Breaker, adding $1 million to Regional School Transportation, and increasing Chapter 70 minimum aid to $55 per student.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE YOUR COMMUNITY’S LOCAL AID AND PRELIMINARY CHERRY SHEET NUMBERS IN THE HOUSE WAYS & MEANS BUDGET, AS ESTIMATED BY THE DIVISION OF LOCAL SERVICES

$42 MILLION INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID
In a major victory for cities and towns, H. 4200 (the HW&M fiscal 2017 budget plan) would provide $1.021 billion for UGGA, a $42 million increase over current funding – the same increase proposed by Governor Baker. The $42 million would increase UGGA funding by 4.3 percent, which matches the growth in state tax collections next year. This would be the largest increase in discretionary municipal aid in nearly a decade. Every city and town would see their UGGA funding increase by 4.3 percent.

CHAPTER 70 MINIMUM AID WOULD INCREASE TO $55 PER STUDENT
The House budget committee is proposing a $95.8 million increase in Chapter 70 education aid, with a provision providing every city, town and school district an increase of at least $55 per student. This is $24 million more than the recommendation in the Governor’s budget submission. The budget would continue to implement the target share provisions enacted in 2007. Because most cities and towns only receive minimum aid, this increase would benefit the vast majority of communities.

FUNDS A $10M RESERVE TO AID COMMUNITIES WITH LOW-INCOME STUDENTS
The House Ways & Means budget also includes a new $10 million reserve to aid communities impacted by changes in the calculations used to account for low-income students. This would supplement Chapter 70 distributions to address shortfalls in aid levels due to the new methodology used to count low-income students. DESE would administer this program, and make funding decisions by October 2016.

$5 MILLION INCREASE INTENDED TO FULLY FUND SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER
In another victory for cities and towns, House leaders have announced that they support full funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker program. Their budget plan would provide $276.7 million, a $5 million increase above fiscal 2016, with the intention of fully funding the account. This is a vital program that every city, town and school district relies on to fund state-mandated services.

ADDS $1 MILLION TO REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION
House Ways and Means Committee budget would add $1 million to bring regional transportation reimbursements up to $60 million. The MMA will work to continue building on this welcome increase.

FUNDING FOR CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS INCREASED BY $5 MILLION, BUT STILL UNDERFUNDED
Under state law, cities and towns that host or send students to charter schools are entitled to be reimbursed for a portion of their lost Chapter 70 aid. The state fully funded the reimbursement program in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, but is underfunding reimbursements by approximately $46.5 million this year. The House Ways and Means budget would increase funding for charter school reimbursements to $85.5 million, a $5 million boost, although this is $15 million less than the amount recommended by Gov. Baker. The program is underfunded in both budget proposals, and increasing this account will be a top priority during the budget debate.

PAYMENTS-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES (PILOT), LIBRARY AID ACCOUNTS, METCO, McKINNEY-VENTO, AND SHANNON ANTI-GANG GRANTS
The House budget committee’s proposal would level-fund PILOT payments at $26.77 million, continue to fund library grant programs at $18.83 million, level-fund METCO $20.1 million, and level-fund McKinney-Vento reimbursements at $8.35 million. All four of these accounts are funded the same in both the Governor’s and House Ways and Means Committee’s budgets. However, the HW&M budget would reduce Shannon Anti-Gang Grants to $5 million, a $2 million reduction.

Please Call Your Representatives Today to Thank Them for the Strong Local Aid Investments in the House Ways and Means Committee Budget – Including the $42 Million Increase in Unrestricted Local Aid, Providing Chapter 70 Minimum Aid at $55 Per Student, Funding the Special Education Circuit Breaker, and Adding Funds to Regional School Transportation

Please Explain How the House Ways and Means Budget Impacts Your Community, and Ask Your Representatives to Build on this Progress During Budget Debate in the House

Thank You!