City OKs renewable energy rules
City residents are one step closer to being able to offset their power bills with roof solar after Holyoke City Council approved a package of related policies at its June 4 meeting.
The policies were unanimously approved as Resolution 2-2019 and extend to all renewable energy sources, including, hypothetically, wind, biofuel and some hydroelectric power. They dictate billing and equipment standards for “interconnection,” by which customers may transfer excess generated power to the City and have it credited toward their utilities bill.
At their May 7 meeting, council members voted to halt local generation for 60 days while they drafted interconnection policies, after a resident expressed interest in connecting a ground-based solar farm to the municipal power grid.
Mayor Orville Tonsing later said that the moratorium remains in effect. City Superintendent Mark Brown added that zoning issues must be resolved before it is lifted.
NMPP Energy created the draft policies that later became Resolution 2-2019. Among other requirements, residential facilities can generate no more than 25 kilowatt hours and must have a disconnect switch that can be easily accessed by utility employees.
Brown reports on June 3 storm
Brown said his department responded to six main fuses that were lost during the thunderstorm that swept northeast Colorado last Monday, June 3.
Brown said high winds and falling tree branches caused the outages. No other outages were reported since the previous meeting.
He added that street crews would likely spend last week picking up fallen branches and unplugging storm drains. Street crews also cleaned up alleys and mowed City properties.
Water and sewer crews helped with the Memorial Day ceremony at Holyoke Cemetery and prepared the pool for the June 1 swim meet.
Brown also said Holyoke Municipal Airport purchased jet fuel and Tom’s Plumbing was working on the boiler at Heginbotham Library.
Bergstrom, Dunker report
Holyoke Police Chief Doug Bergstrom reported that his department, including code enforcement, handled or generated 365 calls for service from May 16-30. They made one arrest, wrote 32 citations and three reports, and gave out 74 warnings. Code enforcement handled three animal complaints, seven dogs at large and 19 ordinance violations.
He also said the department expects its new patrol vehicle to arrive by the end of the month.
The council tabled voting on a contract with Kaseware Record Management System, which Holyoke Police Department is considering as a replacement for its current suit of Crimestar software.
Holyoke recreation director Victoria Dunker announced that Holyoke’s Point Guard College basketball camp drew 25 junior players and said she anticipates a good turnout at the Rockies Skills Challenge on June 15.
She also introduced Ogallala Commons intern and recent Holyoke High School graduate Emma Roll, who will be helping at the department this summer.
Also during its June 4 meeting, the council:
— Contributed $1,000 to Phillips County Economic Development to cover part of the wages for Roll.
— Approved the reassignment of Hazen Schlachter’s lease on a hangar at the airport to Gary Kliewer.
— Agreed to a $1,000 sponsorship of Northeast Rural Philanthropy Days’ activities in 2020.
— Accepted the recommendation of the Holyoke Planning Commission to regulate “accessory use” of a property the same as “accessory buildings,” in terms of structure height and setbacks. Brown later gave television towers and ground-based solar installations as examples of accessory uses.
— Renewed the liquor license for Los Parra’s Mexican Restaurant.