Opinion: Marion should revisit Green Communities deal

Apr 29, 2024

To the editor:

Saving on energy is a good thing. More efficient appliances, better mileage for vehicles and alternative energy sources are all important.

That said the town of Marion should revisit the green energy community deal it entered into in 2019.

When originally launched, the Green Community program helped towns and homeowners find ways to be more energy efficient. But it is very important to recognize that the energy efficiency rebates that are available for energy efficient products are not connected to the Green Community program.

Green Communities are able to apply for grants, and Marion has realized over $500,000 in grants since 2019 that have been used to buy equipment and energy-saving systems for the town. While the grants are always welcome, they represent less than 1% of the total town budgets over the same time period.

Goalposts are moving, and homeowners in Green Communities will be required to add more updates to their homes as they repair and update their homes. Many of these updates will be expensive.

Being energy efficient is a good idea, and the local energy committee should be given credit for helping to introduce these initiatives.

Going forward Marion should take the lessons learned and self-fund further programs. We have already seen the benefits gained, and we can easily move forward by setting aside budget dollars. If we set aside 1% of the budget each year, Marion will have over $260,000 each year for programs while relieving property owners of the ever-rising requirements.

Let’s be clear — energy-efficient updates are a good idea, but we don’t need to be tied to a starter program when the real lesson is how much can be done with modest funds. And those dollars can be better funded from within our town budget.

Chris Collings