HOPKINTON — Town Manager William McGarry brought members of the Town Council up to date at Monday’s meeting on discussions with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management on the possible construction of a solar array on the former town landfill on Stubtown Road.
The newer section of the 15-acre landfill, where the project would be built, was capped in 1999.
McGarry said he and Town Planner James Lamphere had been working on the proposal for two months. McGarry has been in contact with Christopher Kearns of the Rhode Island Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources and Lamphere is in communication with the DEM.
“I’ve been working with Chris Kearns, who provided me with two sample RFPs, requests for proposals,” McGarry said. “One is for financial consultant services and the second is for a private - public partnership to construct a solar array in the future.”
McGarry said he had also met with Planning Board Chair Alfred DiOrio, who provided additional documentation on the landfill.
Lamphere said he had sent the landfill documents to the DEM and was waiting to hear back from the agency, confirming that the section now being considered for the solar array was in fact properly capped and sealed.
“We’re reviewing those documents with DEM, matching up the records that we have here with what they have,” he said. “As Mr. McGarry said, we’d like to get an acknowledgment from DEM that it has been capped properly.”
Lamphere explained that companies responding to an RFP would first want to determine that the landfill had been cleared by the DEM for the construction of the array.
“They’re going to want to know how it’s been capped, is it adequate to support their solar structures and if there’s any problems with it,” he said.
In other business, council President encouraged councilors and residents to attend the Chariho public budget hearing on Tuesday. The school district’s proposed $52.5 million spending plan represents a 0.11 percent increase in the three towns’ combined contribution to the district, and Hopkinton, faces a sharp 3.2 percent increase in its share because of a 21-student increase in enrollment.
The $605,000 increase in the town’s payment to Chariho, combined with a $97,000 reduction in state aid leaves the town facing a $0.83 increase in the property tax. Landolfi, who has been pushing the School Committee for further budget cuts, said he was disappointed that the Hopkinton committee members whom he had invited to the Feb. 19 council meeting had not managed to produce the any of the cuts he is looking for.
“They’ve got a meeting tomorrow [Tuesday] that goes over most of their budget and if you have any concerns, questions, it would be helpful for anybody to come and support the Town Council and your town, because we’re going to have an increase and it’s directly attributed to the schools’ enrollment shift,” he said.
Council members also approved a two-year solid waste disposal contract with Westerly. The town will pay $15,000 in the first year and $16,000 in the second year.