Friday, November 2, 2012

Renewable Energy "Tax Breaks" Bylaw

A group of Carver residents worked together at the grass roots level, and designed a bylaw concerning tax breaks for large renewable energy projects. Phil, of the Watchdogs of Carver, was part of that effort.

This bylaw is not "for" or "against" renewable energy, it only ensures that residents will get a fair shot at deciding if a project deserves a local tax break from Carver. This won't give residents the power to decide which renewable energy projects can be built in town, as it only deals with the tax breaks.

Our bylaw (called Article 12) will require that project proponents get two thirds approval from town meeting, in order to qualify for any local tax breaks. Right now Town Hall could make that decision (and has), and we want the people to have this power. After all, it's much easier to convince 3 or 4 people at Town Hall that a project is good for the town, than to convince two thirds (or more) of the residents at Town Meeting. Who better to decide what tax rate is fair for the town, than the residents/taxpayers?

We need you to come out to town meeting on Dec 6th 2012, and vote YES for ARTICLE 12. We were able to get close to 200 signatures from Carver residents, in less than a week. We got residents from all sides of the political spectrum to join us, because this effort is non partisan.

Why this new bylaw is important

- At the special town meeting in February 2012, residents of Carver voted on a properly sited renewable energy project & it's PILOT (payment in lieu of tax) agreement. The Ravenbrook solar project received unanimous approval, this proves that our plan works.

- Town meeting has only had a chance to vote on this one project. Other projects (with local tax relief/breaks) have been approved, without the residents having any opportunities to vote.

- Most (if not all) renewable energy projects have received federal and state subsidies, on top of local tax breaks. All this, while we need to increase our tax base in order to fund new projects (school, fire and police stations, etc) and infrastructure.

- With the Ravenbrook solar array (6mw), the route 44 array (99 kw), the Paduch project (1mw), and the Oct 2012 board of selectmen agreement with "No Fossil Fuel" for 2 or 3 additional mw of solar generated electricity, Carver is already on target to be one of the greenest towns in Southeastern Mass.

- It's unfair to other businesses in Carver to continue to give tax relief/breaks only to renewable energy projects, picking them as the big "winners". Using this template of tax relief for all renewable energy projects only, all other businesses are "losers" in this special interest game.

- The precedent is there. Town meeting will vote to approve properly sited projects, that are proven to be good for the town. We believe that all projects should make their case to the residents of Carver, and the residents deserve the opportunity to vote on any projects that receive tax relief/breaks from their town.

- This bylaw won't affect renewable energy installations that generate power for on site use. This means that anybody and everybody that wants to install solar panels to power their home or business will not be affected..


3 comments:

  1. At the BOS meeting scheduled for Nov 13th, 2012 they will vote on a PPA (power purchase agreement) for the No Fossil Fuel solar arrays. This bylaw would not affect something like this project. Because these solar arrays are located in other towns (not in Carver). This bylaw is only for projects to be built within Carver.

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  2. Very Good piece Phil! We'll see if the town approves it. Hopefully so. We do need as many people as we can get there on the 6th!

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    1. I submitted a letter today that will be printed in Fridays' Carver Reporter, with pretty much the same info I posted here but cleaned up a bit. I hope we get the votes.

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