Mason to vote on community power at Town Meeting

Town of Mason

Town of Mason COURTESY PHOTO

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 01-17-2024 11:57 AM

Mason residents will vote on adopting a community power plan this year.

The final article on the Mason warrant would authorize the town to adopt the Mason Community Power Plan, a plan put together by the town’s power aggregation committee over the past several months. Community power allows the town to purchase power in bulk for residents, or in partnership with other towns, which can provide lower rates. Residents would have options between plans with a variety of levels of renewable energy sources.

Select Board Chair Kate Batcheller said the premise is similar to what neighboring towns have adopted.

“It gives Mason and its residents a chance to buy energy in bigger bulk,” Batcheller said.

The town will hold hearings on the power plan on Jan. 27 at 9 a.m. at the Mason Elementary School and Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Mann House.

One article initially proposed but ultimately eliminated from the warrant this year was a proposal to put an addition on the town’s library, using $68,000 in funds from the Library Building Capital Reserve, in the first phase of an addition to the library. The funds would add a small covered addition to the front of the library, extending toward the parking lot, but Select Board members said they had not seen or heard enough about the plan to put it to voters this year, although they did eliminate the possibility of it being on the warrant in 2025.

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Equipment repairs or replacement scheduled this year include a new police cruiser and repair to a fire department vehicle. The cruiser is anticipated to cost about $71,000, with $55,000 from the police revolving fund and $16,000 from the trade-in of the vehicle. The town also anticipates using $18,000 to overhaul the pump on the town’s fire engine.

Renovation work on the Town Hall is expected to continue in the coming years, and an article seeks $64,000 for the second phase of work, with the majority of funding coming from state grants. Of the total, $30,000 is anticipated to come from the state’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, $20,000 from Moose Plate Grants, $3,000 from a Freedom’s Way Grant and the remaining $11,000 to come from the Town Hall Renovation Capital Reserve. In a related article, the town is asking to move a total of $6,815 to the Town Hall Renovation Fund from the unassigned fund balance.

To maintain other town assets, the town is requesting to use $1,500 from the town’s Forestry Maintenance Fund for maintenance of the Mason Rail Trail.

Several articles on the warrant this year are for additions to the town’s capital reserve accounts, used to accumulate funds for large purchases at some point down the road. Articles requesting funds for capital reserves include $25,000 for Highway Department equipment, $25,000 for Fire Department vehicles, $5,000 for the fire station and $5,000 for fire department equipment.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on X @AshleySaariMLT.