Blooming Grove Board Passes First Battery Storage Law In New York
& Warns of Costly Judicial Process Passed by State Legislature
By Edie Johnson
After several iterations of a law that will allow battery storage banks, such as those becoming popular with homes that have solar panels, a final version crafted to agree with a new state law was passed on Monday night. The primary purpose is to protect both the home/homeowner and first responders in case of fire since they would normally turn off electricity upon arriving at an emergency scene. With solar power there would still be current emanating from the panels to the electric box. If a homeowner wants to install a battery backup system instead of a generator, they must first notify first responders, and the battery system have a posted notice for disconnection as well as fire suppressant on hand. Since the “grid” pays solar owners for unused production, the extra production could provide some additional compensation. Further, community solar farms and some electric backup farms are now being proposed by utility companies, and Orange & Rockland is anxious for these laws to be ready so they can expand their backup potential in case of outages and “brownouts” when their grids begin to get overloaded. This being the first community to finish crafting a municipal version, it is expected to be copied by other municipalities in the area. Any interested residents should read the entire code.
Timber Harvesting – A plan for timber harvesting on property along Clove Road has raised a lot of questions among residents in recent weeks. Supervisor Rob Jeroloman clarified that the property belongs to a longtime landowner whose property is in an Agriculture District. The timber harvesting will allow the property to remain Ag District and cutting will be carefully monitored by the Forestry Department. With proper restriction of which trees may be cut, the harvesting will in fact keep the forest healthy. The town’s ZBA and Highway Department will monitor the removal.
Costly New Criminal Processing: A new complex set of Judicial Procedural Requirements passed by the New York State Legislature that will affect processing of criminal arrests is expected to place a huge amount of new work on police departments, the DA’s office and town computer systems. These new processing requirements are expected to cost the DA’s office at least $2M, and increase local police costs by 12% and in some cases over 15%. This new “unfunded mandate” will mean that if the new procedures are not completed in time, the criminal will be back on the street. Achieving these new requirements will likely cause an impact on residents’ taxes.
Smart Meters: With many residents objecting to an added cost on their electric bill, and some fearing health risks because of yet more microwaves, Councilman Tom DeVinko recommended that the board vote to have Blooming Grove residents exempted from this added charge (as other towns have requested). Councilmembers Quick, Ayala, Doering and Amante quickly agreed, and the resolution will be sent to Albany.