ENFIELD, N.Y.—The Town of Enfield is being pitched on letting a company set up an electric vehicle charging station, a matter discussed at its Town Board meeting on Wednesday.
Joe Desimone, chief operating officer for Greenspot, an electric vehicle charging company based in Jersey City, New Jersey, gave a presentation to the Town Board on Wednesday. He said his company has installed 100 charging ports throughout the northeastern United States, and said his company is trying to help municipalities install the necessary infrastructure that accompanies them.
Stephanie Redmond, supervisor for the Town of Enfield, asked Desimone whether adding an EV charging station would be cost-effective for GreenSpot, since Enfield is a rural and relatively low-income community with few electric cars. Desimone replied that electric vehicle owners in Enfield would need to travel in order to charge their vehicles unless they have a charger, but that shoudn’t necessarily be a barrier.
“I don’t think that any town, village, whatever, is too small,” Desimone said. “I think any community deserves to have infrastructure available.”
The EV charger would likely be installed on municipal property, since the municipality has the right to own and operate the property. Desimone suggested that having the EV charger on a business that was willing to host it, such as a grocery store, would also be a possibility, and might drive traffic to that business.
“It really is up to the municipality what direction they want to go,” Desimone said. “Sometimes, they choose their city hall or their civic center. Sometimes they choose parks, or what they would consider a shopping area for the town. I know the space is limited, and for us, the municipal property is as well, but there are probably some options.”
Redmond asked Desimone if the town would have to upgrade the town hall’s electric systems if the EV charger was placed at the town hall. Desimone said no, explaining that if there is a transformer nearby, they can work with the utility company to run a conduit underground, and have their electrician install the charging station..
“We wouldn’t be tapping into any of the actual building’s infrastructure,” Desimone said. “It would be the utilities.”
The rate for electricity depends on the cost of kilowatt hours in the area the charging station is set in. Desimone said that it wouldn’t necessarily be fair to charge Enfield the same prices as in Ithaca, a large municipality, and said he would price it competitively. Greenspots business model is built on charging customers for the amount of electricity they draw into their vehicles.
“At our existing prices in areas that are highly populated, it’s still a third of the cost of gasoline right now,” Desimone said of powering electric cars, “so it’s extremely affordable in comparison.”
Robert Lynch, a member of the board, asked if the town needed to pay anything, or would only provide real estate, and Desimone said yes, the town needed only provide the rel estate.
The board did not take any action in response to Desimone’s proposal at the meeting, but thanked Desimone for his presentation.
Enfield Discusses Open Meetings
While Enfield has held meetings via Zoom ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years ago, it may soon be forced to rethink how it holds its meetings.
Local government meetings must resume in-person in the usual locations, and a quorum of representatives must be present in that location for the meeting to take place since the state of emergency that allows for remote meetings expired on June 8.
A law before the Enfield Town Board would allow representatives with extenuating circumstances to attend meetings remotely and even vote, but they will not be counted toward the quorum, which is in line with New York State Law. Lynch, though, called out legislation for being poorly written, and said some people found the language confusing.
“If you monitor what the county legislature said last night, they were as flummoxed to a certain extent as what the lawyers are,” Lynch said, “because it really wasn’t drafted by people who knew what they were doing. But I don’t think the law does us any harm, and I think the law will allow us whatever flexibility the state allows.”
Lynch announced he had drafted a resolution for a public hearing in July for the purpose of considering allowing the town to continue allowing virtual public meetings. The meeting will take place in the Enfield courthouse, and if possible, will be held over Zoom.
Lemke said the board was facing a “chicken and the egg” problem, and that they couldn’t do hybrid meetings without a law authorizing them. She added that she was unsure whether the board could even offer video-conferencing for residents. Lynch said that if the public hearing takes place in July, the board will not be able to utilize the law until it is adopted, resulting in the board having to convene in person at least once during that time period.
The board unanimously voted to table Lynch’s resolution for now so the board could gather more information. They will discuss it again in their July meeting, or if they hold a special meeting later in June.