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Ripley to seek new bids for garage improvements

RIPLEY — Town Council members have rejected bids for improvements to the town highway garage and will begin a new bid process.

Doug Bowen, Ripley town supervisor, presented a resolution rejecting all bids received for the improvements to the highway garage because all bids received were substantially over the amount committed to the project from U.S. Rural Development. Therefore, no bid award was made.

Council members subsequently resolved to authorize a new bid period with the process with new bids due by Dec. 8.

The council also approved funding to restore an historical sign with the cost not to exceed $1,000. The town received a letter from John Hamels, town historian, regarding the refurbishing of the William Crossgrove marker that is on Route 20. The marker was placed in 1938, according to Hamels, and the estimate to have it repainted by Lakeshore Industries is $825.75.

Funding was also approved for a monitoring system for the pump station on Shortman Road. According to Bowen, Cold Spring Environmental was the contractor who installed the monitoring system at the Ripley Water Plant.

In other business, board members approved the appointment of Cynthia Lappies to the planning board.

“I think she’ll make a great addition to the planning board and bring different viewpoints,” Bowen said.

Regarding the South Ripley Solar Project, attorney Ben Wisniewski updated council members on several matters.

“ORES is making me jump through hoops,” he said.

He went on to explain some minor changes that were necessary.

Wisniewski also noted that “there is about $67,000 left in the Intervener Fund for the project.” This is the local agency account fund, he said.

“Any money that’s left does go back to the applicant, but through the host community agreement, it will then go back to the town,” he said.

Wisniewski also told council members that the ORES judges decided a hearing regarding forest mitigation is not necessary.

Wisniewski introduced Damien Bell of SLR Consulting to those attending the meeting. Bell is a noise engineer who has worked in environmental noise studies for more than 15 years.

Bell told council members that South Ripley Solar showed to his satisfaction that they are going to meet the ORES limits. Most of the area is going to be very quiet, except for the substation (transformer), he said.

“They spent several weeks comparing the current sound level to the anticipated sound level,” he said.

Bell said he was very pleased with the efficiency of the study.

“Overall, they did a very fine, professional job,” he said. “It is a very high quality engineering study that was done.”

Wisniewski subsequently suggested the town obtain the results of the study. “We do care how much the sound level will increase,” he said. “What are the hot spots as far as change in sound level?” he asked.

In a related matter, Bowen brought up the Gateway Community Solar Garden proposed by Clean Choice Energy, noting that the Chautauqua County IDA held a public hearing concerning the PILOT agreement.

Wisniewski told council members that any solar project can seek a PILOT agreement, as Clean Choice energy is doing. A PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement will give the town some benefits, but not nearly as much as the South Ripley Solar Project, he said.

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