After 15 years of indecision, the City may miss the upcoming Green Community application deadline – despite a pledge to have the issue before the Council in July.
The only thing holding Peabody back currently is the City Council and its apparent lack of interest in the city’s energy future. How is it that 290 other Massachusetts communities have found a way through the bureaucratic, but necessary, process and now enjoy grant funds and benefits as a Green Community?
BCNS is asking citizens to contact their city councilors before the next Council meeting on August 24 and inquire as to where the city is in the process of becoming a Green Community and ask he/she to take action to ensure our designation in time to apply for grant funds in the fall. Council Directory: https://www.peabody-ma.gov/government.html#!#tab1-0)
Still needed is a vote of the Legal Affairs Subcommittee (Members: O’Neill, McGinn, Peach, Rossignoll, Turco) regarding updating our building code to include new stretch building codes. This ensures that new buildings are designed and constructed with energy efficiency in mind. The predicted process requires inviting the Department of Community Development to appear before the subcommittee. To date, there are no council committee meetings scheduled in August. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/building-energy-code
The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy subcommittee (Members: McGinn, Daigle, Welton) met last in May. The subcommittee’s endorsement, if made, will pass the Green Community application on to the full council for consideration. The next Council meeting is on August 24.
Curt Bellavance, Director of Community Development, reported that the City is finalizing the required energy audit of all public buildings and structures. “Once that is complete, we will engage a consultant to draft our energy reduction plan; I’m not sure how long that will take,” he said.
The City has considered becoming a Green Community three times before. In 2008, at the urging of the Friends of Green Peabody and Councilor Anne Manning-Martin, the city could not participate in the program as the designation was not applicable to cities with a municipal light plant. In 2011, the legislation was amended but to participate, the city would have to enter into a trust with the municipal light plant and charge residents a fee of $3. PMLP did not agree to the charge.
In 2022, those obstacles were eliminated because a municipality with at least one electric client serviced by the National Grid can qualify for designation – a fact that the Council learned when Tracy Valletti, presently a Peabody Municipal Light Commissioner, informed the committee.