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Borough moves closer to $1.35M solar field project

Published March 21. 2011 05:00PM

The Summit Hill Water Authority passed two resolutions with a 4-0 vote that moved it closer to awarding a bid for the solar field project it has been developing for the past year.

With these resolutions, Vice Chairman Robert Collevechio, who ran the Wednesday night meeting in the absence of Chairman Patrick Kane, said they expect financing to be completed on or about March 25 with bids being awarded early the following week.

Solicitor Joseph Velitsky explained the negotiations with the Metro Bank, which will be providing the financing for the projected $1.35 million project.

"The bank will offer a 10-year loan for up to $1.35 million which they will allow to be paid back as we receive the grants early with the rest paid in installments, although the payment amount will be adjusted as money is repaid to the loan," he told authority members.

Part of the agreement for the loan includes establishing a relationship with the bank, Velitsky said. He suggested placing a note on account or opening a money market there for $25,000 to show the bank the authority's commitment to the deal.

The board established the authorization for financing with the bank with the first resolution that passed 4-0. This was followed by a second resolution which also passed 4-0 that ratified the security agreement.

At the conclusion of the voting, the board moved to set up a meeting to award bids that were accepted and qualified on Feb. 8 during a special meeting. Authority Engineer Michael Tirpak reminded the board they had 60 days to select a bid and that time would be up on April 8.

Tirpak reminded the board that at one time they authorized Carbon Engineering to ratify the lowest bidder and automatically award the bid to them once the financing was in place. He asked if this was still the authority's desire. The board consented that it was still good with that decision.

Velitsky told the board to provide a day or two between the finance agreement settlement on March 25 and the bid award just to be sure there are no quirks in the financing that would require correction.

Collevechio suggested March 30 or 31 and Velitsky said he felt that would provide enough of a margin to ensure the financing is in place and meet the bid deadlines. The authority approved a special meeting for general purposes on March 30 at 6 p.m. with one item of business being the formal awarding of the bid.

Tirpak said the original low bidder withdrew from consideration which made Miller Brothers the next qualified lowest bidder. Tirpak said the electrical contractor is licensed throughout New York, New Jersey and the Philadelphia areas and they have many years of experience. The final award will be made during the special meeting.

The solar project, which was championed by the authority and former Chairman Chet Michalik, will power the physical plant and the borough building and will be located in White Bear on the physical plant's property. The plant is expected to pay for itself over the course of the next several years as well as generate money that is planned to be used to update and upgrade the borough's aging water system.

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