- Associated Press - Saturday, July 19, 2014

CAVENDISH, Vt. (AP) - Voters in the town of Cavendish will be asked next month whether the community should borrow up to $450,000 for a municipal solar farm.

Local leaders say the 625 solar-panel project would pay for itself and save tax money.

The Rutland Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1qLpMDX ) that the town started talking with a Vermont solar company last year. Officials also spoke with an investor leasing land for a 150-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system.

But the discussions fell apart this spring after the company requested changes. Since then leaders have been looking for other ways to complete the project.

“It makes a great deal of sense to do it ourselves with competent contractors and bond financing. We own everything and get all the benefits, and there’s a positive cash flow right from the start,” said Richard Svec, town manager and energy coordinator.

Taxpayers would have to cover each year an estimated $30,000 bond payment for 20 years, and ongoing $670 insurance premium and $636 state tax, the newspaper reported.

But supporters say the 625 solar panels would decrease the roughly $40,000 yearly cost of powering the municipal office, trash transfer station and water and sewer departments by up to $35,000 in its first year. The savings are expected to continue through the life of the bond.

A public meeting is expected to take place before the Aug. 26 vote, when residents will go to the polls for the primary election.

The town will take advantage of the Vermont state primary election scheduled for Aug. 26 to ask local voters to cast an Australian ballot on the plan, which already has received a state Public Service Board certificate of public good.

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