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Town to rebid animal shelter project after proposals fail to meet criteria

Southold Town is opting to rebid a project to bring solar panels to the town animal shelter in Peconic so it offers both shade for dogs and cuts energy costs.

Neither of the two bids received met the town’s needs, town engineer Michael Collins said at Tuesday’s work session. 

“The way the array is supposed to be set up over the dog shelter has to achieve two different goals,” Mr. Collins said. “It has to shade [the dogs] and in addition not create a maintenance problem.”

One bid placed the ground-mounted solar panels in an area that wasn’t approved, while the other bidder’s arrangement would have caused a snow maintenance problem, Mr. Collins said.

The Town Board approved a resolution to reject all bids and request new bids on Tuesday evening. 

The engineering department will put together a bid package with explicit specifications, Mr. Collins said. It’s possible the project could be in contract within three to six weeks after bids are received, he added. 

If the goal is provide shade for shelter dogs, Councilman Jim Dinizio asked, why not build structures unrelated to a solar project?

Mr. Collins explained that the town was approved for a $100,000 NYSERDA grant tied to the solar project, and that work to renegotiate the grant would be counterproductive at this point. 

The town is also receiving a private donation toward the project that will cover about half the cost, added town government liaison Denis Noncarrow.

In addition, the solar panels will help manage town energy costs, said department of public works director Jeff Standish, adding that the shelter has the highest utility bills among town facilities. The solar panels would also offset electricity costs at the police department, he said.  

Councilman Bill Ruland said this aligns with thinking for other possible solar projects around town, and mentioned the idea of adding solar to the roof of the highway department building. 

“Once we complete this we can have a better idea of what it would take to try and offset 100 percent of the town’s electric use, if that’s our goal.” Mr. Collins said.

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