Southold Town approves solar plan for animal shelter

BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | A pair of dogs at the Southold Animal Shelter.
BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | A pair of dogs at the Southold Animal Shelter.

Steps were taken in Southold Town Hall Thursday to fund the installation of solar panels and other improvements to the town animal shelter, which is operated by the nonprofit North Fork Animal Welfare League.

As part of the state’s environmental review process, the Town Board declared a “negative declaration,” meaning the work won’t result in any significant impact to the environment.

The board also approved the issuance of $330,000 in bonds to help fund the $527,000 project.

But Supervisor Scott Russell said between money coming from a large donation from a local family as well as power company rebates, the project will cost the town less than $100,000.

“We’re actually just putting money in place,” he told a concerned resident who took to the podium during the meeting. Mr. Russell added the town’s share of the funding would be paid back “through the next budget cycle.”

He also said lower energy bills will see the town recoup its initial investment in “less than five years.”

“The electric bills at the animal shelter are staggering,” said Councilman William Ruland. “Anything we can do to offset that — for as long as 20 years in this case — is absolutely the right thing to do.”

Both resolutions, one declaring the negative declaration and the other authorizing the construction and issuing the bonds, passed unanimously.

The work involves “the design and construction of shade structures, including installation of photovoltaic system and related improvements and other ancillary work,” read resolution 2014-89.

As reported in December, the town accepted the bid of SUNation of Oakdale to undertake the photovoltaic installation.

Under the agreement, the contractor is responsible for retaining the rebates and passing the savings to the town.

Mr. Russell said last month the work would be done sometime in 2014.

[email protected]