Despite the fact that Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi was the only board member who voted against new green energy legislation presented by fellow board member, Anna Throne-Holst back in July, he has recently created new legislation, which, if enacted, will incentivize — rather than mandate — green living practices.
Nuzzi announced that he will be releasing three resolutions at next week’s town board meeting on October 14. The three pieces of legislation he is preparing to present deal with energy efficiency for town facilities, property tax exemptions for those who implement green technology and increasing renewable energy rebates.
“The expansion of town rebates, property tax exemptions, and current rebates from the Long Island Power Authority, along with both federal and state tax credits, makes renewable energy alternatives a more realistic option for everyone in our community looking to lower their utility bills and their dependence on fossil fuels,” Nuzzi said.
The town implemented its new energy codes this month, which mandate that houses meet a minimum home Energy Star rating score depending on size. The town is still considering a portion of the legislation, which will mandate the use of solar heating for swimming pools.
“I am pleased to bring forth legislation that encourages consumers to invest in alternative energy sources through incentives and the reduction of burdensome property taxes,” Nuzzi said.
The legislation sponsored by Throne-Holst introduced some of the strictest green laws in the country. Throne-Holst explained that even though homeowners can get rebates from LIPA for installing energy saving measures, there are other considerable state and federal rebates that will encourage people to want to update their homes to the Energy Star requirements. She believes that the combination of incentives and mandates will help reduce the carbon footprint of Southampton Town.
With the tentative town budget calling for a five percent increase in property taxes, if enacted, Nuzzi’s legislation may help homeowners reduce their property tax through incentives for those who are opting to have alternative technologies to reduce energy consumption.
The Town of Southampton already has an incentive program for those who install solar electric systems on their homes, which Nuzzi proposes to amend to include geothermal systems. He also proposes raising the rebate amount for town residents who install these systems from $2,500 to a maximum of $5,000.
Nuzzi is also requesting legislation on a state level that will authorize a real property tax exemption for solar and/or geothermal system improvements made on both residential and commercial structures by recognizing an alternative energy adjustment on the town tax bill.
In addition to the property tax reduction and the increase in rebates, Nuzzi has also said that he recognizes the importance of the town leading by example in the field of reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Nuzzi will present resolutions to direct the town’s department of general services to solicit proposals to review the energy consumption of town facilities and make recommendations on energy efficiency as well as implement strategies that focus on using alternative energy sources.
“Municipal governments throughout Long Island are some of the largest consumers of energy,” Nuzzi said. “It is our responsibility to lead by example. We need to incorporate renewable energy sources into both existing and new town facilities and this will help provide the blueprint.”
Nuzzi is asking for an audit to be completed with an energy consultant to review Southampton Town’s energy use and make recommendations for alternative methods.
“The decision to make a world of change can start right here in our community,” said Nuzzi.