By Doug Fraser
May 04, 2011
BREWSTER — Solar power fared better Tuesday night than wind power did Monday.
On the second night of town meeting, voters unanimously approved amending zoning bylaws to allow the deployment of large arrays of solar power panels. Three areas are under consideration: Commerce Park and The Captains Golf Course, which were already approved at a prior town meeting but weren’t zoned for solar power, and the town landfill, which voters approved for solar power Tuesday night.
Town Administrator Charles Sumner estimated that the power generated at the three sites would either be sold to NStar or applied to the accounts of municipal departments. Sumner estimated the town could realize around $120,000 annually from the installations.
Before passing a $902,000 capital budget, speakers spent a lot of time debating a $24,000 study that would help the town find additional revenues. Use of the golf course and revenues have been declining in recent years and at least one speaker questioned whether the town should remain in the business of running a municipal course. But board of selectmen chairman Ed Lewis pointed out the golf course was self-sustaining, even with reduced revenues.
Golf commission chairman Rob Harris said that revenues from the course pay all associated expenses, including salaries, and contributed more than $6 million to town coffers over its 26 years of existence as well as paid off more than $6.5 million of its own construction and other debt.
The capital budget also included, among other projects, $88,000 for three new police cruisers; $50,000 for repairs to the fire station; $10,000 to fix the Lower Mill Pond dam at the historic Stony Brook site; and $221,304 for projects in the Nauset Regional School District.
Although the Community Preservation Act request was for $634,195, affordable housing and open space held their funding in reserve for future projects and there was just one project proposed for funding: $250,000 toward the Brewster Meeting House preservation.
Some questioned why taxpayer money was going toward a building that was in private hands. But voter Elbert Ulshoeffer stepped up to defend the expenditure.
“This is a historic building,” he said. “It’s where this town was founded. This is Brewster’s historic monument and it should be saved.”
Voters overwhelmingly approved the full amount of the CPA request.
Other articles approved Tuesday night included:
Nearly $63,000 in human services funding to 12 different organizations serving those in need or at risk.
$4,500 for the Bayside Skippers, jump rope performers.
$210,173 transferred from cable franchise fees as part of a shared expense with neighboring towns to build a cable access studio at Nauset Regional High School.