With the implementation of new green legislation for residential homes, which began on October 1 of this year, the Town of Southampton was both widely criticized and highly praised in their efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of their residents. Now the Southampton Town Board is working hard on implementing councilman Chris Nuzzi’s proposed legislation to lead by example, and require changes for greener town buildings.
Southampton Town board members met with the Sustainable Southampton Advisory Committee (Town Green Committee) last week to talk about Nuzzi’s proposed green legislation, which, if adopted, would allow more money for rebates, property tax exemptions and a reduction in energy consumption for the municipality.
At Friday’s work session, the latter was the primary topic of conversation. The Green Committee’s Paul Rogers said the committee needed more time and resources to get the kind of information that would be required for an audit of the town’s facilities, but on Friday said the committee could begin by looking at town vehicles as well as six buildings that use more energy — Southampton Town Hall, the Town Animal Shelter, the Parks and Recreation building, the Town Police Headquarters, East Quogue Village Green and the Central Garage and Maintenance Shop.
Kabot explained that the town’s principal planner, Janice Scherer, has been asked to help with the audit because the board felt she would be the best person to compile the data and put the information into legible data sheets. Scherer noted that the audit would require a great deal of work, however, and said that she would need someone to help her complete the task.
“Its not easy to gather this information,” Scherer said on Friday. “We would have to gather all the information from the facilities and the vehicles they are using to include in the report.”
Kabot suggested that if Scherer asked someone from a lower level in the planning department to assist, then Scherer could check that person’s work. With a decrease in the number of building permits currently coming into the office, Kabot felt Scherer would be able to commit to the analysis on a part time basis and objected to adding a new full time employee to help with the audit.
In addition to the audit, Kabot reminded that the board had been criticized in the past for getting into people’s backyards — especially with the recent green energy legislation proposing a mandate on solar heating for pools. The green legislation proposed by Nuzzi may include some community outreach and forums to educate the public.
“There may be more urgency to this, given the energy crunch and the current economic crisis,” councilwoman Nancy Graboski said. “The community may be expecting that in government buildings we do what we can to save for governmental expenses.”
Once the Southampton Town Green Committee finishes the energy audit, the findings will become part of Nuzzi’s proposed legislation. Graboski said she expects the audit would be complete in the spring.