The Return: Solar Power Article To Be Reconsidered by Town Meeting

Photo: Belmont Town Meeting.

The solar power article – effectively killed off by an amendment postponing indefinitely a vote on the measure on the first night of the Belmont Town Meeting, Monday, May 4 – has returned from the grave after newly-elected Selectman Jim Williams requested the Town Meeting revisit the contentious initiative possibly one more time. 

While voting for the amendment submitted by former Ralph Jones, Williams told the Belmontonian that the decision didn’t “sit well the day after” so he approached Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman early Tuesday to request “a motion to reconsider” which is allowed under town meeting rules.

While Town Moderator Mike Widmer will inform Town Meeting on the reconsideration on the send night of Town Meeting, Wednesday, May 6, the earliest the actual vote on reconsideration will take place is in June, according Cushman.

At that time, Williams will speak on his request, discussion will take place before Town Meeting takes a vote on the reconsideration, which must pass by a 2/3 margin to be placed back before the members. 

If it does reach that plateau, Article 9 will be debated and will need to reach the standard 50 percent plus one vote to be adopted.

William said he believed his vote Monday, which passed overwhelmingly by Town Meeting, was “basically a ‘timeout’ for all parties to settle down and let the new Light Board do its work,”  referring to the board made up of the Selectmen which approves policy for Belmont Light, the town’s public electric utility. 

“[I] learned that the motion to postpone indefinitely was primarily used as a motion to dismiss and is normally employed by town officials when an article has been overcome by events and should be dismissed,” said Williams.

“This clearly was not my voted intention and so the decision to file for reconsideration was straight forward,” he said in an email Tuesday, May 5, 

Williams said, in his opinion, Town Meeting deserve to hear all sides debate the article “and … vote up or down on what [Town Meeting] want to do or should not be able to do.”
The article, which came to Town Meeting as a citizen petition, would place on the town ballot a non-binding resolution to request the town’s state legislators to vote for state legislation that would require Belmont and other municipal utilities to provide solar users favorable treatment when crediting solar owners for the electricity they add to the grid.
Yet many Town Meeting were incredulous with the measure when they discovered there is not state legislation for the legislators to vote on, and that the measure was presented to Town Meeting as a method to begin a discussion on promoting solar power. 
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