By Joseph Elie, Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – The Board of Selectmen on Nov. 8 voted unanimously to schedule a Special Town Meeting (STM) on Dec. 5 for the purpose of authorizing a tax agreement on a proposed solar farm to be built by Constellation Energy Projects and Services.
The solar farm would be completed by June 1 and would generate three megawatts of electricity from 2000 solar panels to be sold exclusively to Shrewsbury through Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations (SELCO). The site is located on 21 acres of industrial zoned land owned by Polito Development near the intersection of Joyce and Cherry streets.
Paul Sleeper, Constellation's Director-Consulting Services said the tax agreement would provide his company with certainty on the cost of the project over the next 20 years. Sleeper said a December STM was necessary so the company could take advantage of the peak production months of summer, during which 70 percent of a solar farm's power is generated. Sleeper also said approximately 50 new jobs would be created during construction of the project and that the solar farm would be a reliable source of cheap energy for the town.
Similar solar farms are currently under construction in Holyoke, Uxbridge, Norfolk, and Swampscott.
In other business, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to extend the town's relationship with the Central Massachusetts Regional Health District by formally consenting to the filing of a $325,000 grant application.
Derek Brindisi, director of public health for Worcester and Shrewsbury, said that incentive grants from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts have funded shared public health services for the past year.
The new grant, if awarded, would fund the next four years, with the expectation that the program eventually be self-sustained. Brindisi said the grant would build upon and improve the delivery of mandated health services that are currently shared within the region. Brindisi expressed confidence that the grant application would succeed. “This is the most comprehensive public health delivery model in the state,” he said.
In conjunction with the city of Worcester, the Central Massachusetts Regional Health District currently serves the communities of Holden, Millbury, West Boylston, and Leicester under the grant program.
The Shrewsbury Board of Health voted to support the grant application at their meeting on Sept. 21.