By Dena Eakles | Echo Valley Hope, rural Ontario
Dec. 9 is the deadline to submit your input on the proposed expansion of the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District. You can find the online form here: www.Feedback2000.com. Add the survey code: QDFQ-KG66-LQJJ-6XR8. In case you missed it, there is a makeover being proposed. FEMA is footing some of the bill in the form of a grant. Their request is that a “safe space” be built for community members in times of disaster that would also double as a rec area. There are many upgrades and changes being proposed as well.
The estimated bill to taxpayers for the entire project is based on construction costs, but it does not include operational cost projections. That would include electricity and heating.
Would the community benefit from the proposed improvements to the school? Yes. However, we also need to consider a shrinking student body along with the tax burden. Perhaps it would be wise to use some of the grant money toward local renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind. With the current Inflation Reduction Act, the costs to install the kind of system needed would be reduced greatly. We would demonstrate a willingness to move into a new energy phase that is also cost effective.
What an incredible gift to our community and what an important legacy to be left to the next generations that we had the foresight to diminish costs and protect the environment in one action.
Vernon County Energy District is a nonprofit that is taking on the serious and timely work of building locally generated energy. Their recent study (https://www.vced.energy/what-is-an-energy-district) demonstrates that we can all benefit by moving from fossil fuels.
When and if this project comes to a referendum and a vote in the April election, I will fully support one that includes renewable energy. It is not only possible; it is prudent.