Williston Park eyes clean energy grant

Noah Manskar
Village of Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar.

The Village of Williston Park is working to get a state grant to help it cut energy costs and become more sustainable.

The village has met three of four required criteria for the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority’s Clean Energy Communities Program, Mayor Paul Ehrbar said.

Once it completes the fourth, the village will be eligible for a $50,000 or $100,000 grant to put toward energy savings initiatives, Ehrbar said.

“All the things that we have tried to do, we’ll be able to hopefully achieve financial reimbursement for and be able to proceed with that type of philosophy,” village Trustee Teresa Thomann said at Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The Clean Energy Communities Program offers block grants to municipalities across the state that complete at least four of 10 “high impact actions” to reduce energy use or encourage sustainability, according to the program’s website.

Williston Park checked three boxes on the list last year by installing efficient LED street lights, creating a permit process for installing solar panels and resolving to publicize annual reports on its energy use, Ehrbar said.

Kerry Collins, the village building inspector, has submitted documents showing he can evaluate energy efficiency in building plans, which will clear the final hurdle for eligibility, Ehrbar said.

“The future is all efficiency,” Collins said Monday.

Once it becomes eligible, the village will have three months to submit a grant proposal that would further reduce its energy use or otherwise make it more environmentally sustainable, according to the program’s guidance documents.

The village has not yet decided how it might use the money, Ehrbar said.

Williston Park would be the second municipality with fewer than 40,000 residents to be named a Clean Energy Community. The Town of New Castle in Westchester County became the first in January.

The first Long Island municipality to earn the designation was Smithtown, which got it in December.

Williston Park also recently received a $95,000 grant toward the $180,000 cost of a new recycling truck, Ehrbar said Monday.

The village is working toward implementing “single-stream” recycling so residents would not have to separate recyclable cardboard from cans and bottles, Ehrbar said.

Also on Monday, Ehrbar said the Board of Trustees plans to schedule a public hearing on a law that would raise the minimum age for buying tobacco to 21 from 19.

The Town of North Hempstead passed a similar law last year that takes effect Wednesday in the town’s unincorporated hamlets.

Williston Park would be the first incorporated village to follow suit.

Ehrbar did not say when the public hearing would take place.

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