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Malone considers solar panel change

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MALONE — Malone Town officials have been asked again to tweak their agreement with Apex Solar Power for the installation of solar panels on the roofs of several town buildings, at the request of the Federal Aviation Administration.

The compliance officer for the FAA who has been reviewing the agreement asked for town officials to “clarify that power provided by the solar panels is not in any way benefitting the town’s facilities not having an aeronautical use,” according to Lillian Anderson-Duffy, the town’s attorney. “The town can certainly pay for its share of the electrical not at the expense of the airport,” the statement continued.

However, the reason for the solar panels is to benefit the town, the Malone-Dufort Airport and the taxpayers.

“I think we should come back with facts and figures of let’s say the last five years ... so it’s a trend,” Anderson-Duffy said.

She said they should include information on all expenses of the airport, including electric utility, maintenance that’s done at the airport during all seasons as well as any repairs, such as to the lights.

“What we want to show this man is that the airport is not self-supporting,” she said. “On the contrary, the town, out of all the other coffers, is paying for the airport.”

The panels, once installed, will help offset the town’s energy costs by 25 percent per year, according to past reports.

“The whole thing is ludicrous,” Malone Town Councilwoman Mary Scharf said at the board’s regular meeting Wednesday. “We’re saving the taxpayers money who are supporting the airport.”

Last week, Scharf spoke with Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, about contacting the FAA in the hopes to get the ball rolling quicker, “because we’re running out of summer,” she said.

“They told him we were holding it up, not them,” Scharf said Wednesday. “I called Bill back and I said, ‘well, we asked them in January exactly what they wanted and they said they wanted one thing: a glare test ... every couple of months, they’re adding something to the list.”

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