City Councilors Want High School Solar Project ‘One Way or Another’

 Council President John A, Michitson and Councilor Colin F. LePage.

Haverhill City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua.

Haverhill City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua.

Haverhill city councilors want a proposed rooftop solar energy project at Haverhill High School to happen “one way or another.”

After learning the city has started a new request for proposals (RFP) for another solar project, all nine councilors unanimously backed a motion by Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua asking Mayor James J. Fiorentini to schedule “an emergency meeting” between the council and school committee to discuss the matter. Councilors also asked the mayor “move expeditiously” on a new RPF in order to meet a January deadline for energy net metering credits and other state incentives.

“One way or the other, we have to move forward and find a way of getting solar panels on that roof, get the roof replaced and provide energy and cost savings to the taxpayers of the city and help our kids,” Bevilacqua said.

In a letter sent to Fiorentini this morning, councilors also asked the mayor to “work with the dissenters” to change their votes. The letter added city councilors will be present at the school committee meeting Thursday and wish for a suspension of the rules to discuss the matter.

Councilors also agreed to defer to City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. to seek outside legal opinions, if needed, on questions from the council instead of seeking its own, as first proposed by Council President John A, Michitson. He told councilors he learned the mayor has been unable to “change the mind” of at least one of three school committee members who voted against the solar plan last month.

“The problem with that is – and this is coming from our purchasing agent – even if we got started right now on that RFP which I guess has begun, again, the project needs to be 50 percent complete by January. So we have to go through the whole RFP process, pick somebody else and then they start the project. And we’re already at risk even delaying the contractor that we have now,” Michitson said.

He added the rejection of a winner bidder has raised a credibility issue for the city.

“The mayor did vote for it and I think he has to step up and make it happen. Let’s face it, he pulls the levers in the city, that’s the bottom line. It’s a strong mayor form of government and if he thinks it’s a strong project, an excellent project, then it can happen. I guarantee you it can happen, even beyond the legal aspects here,” Michitson added. “We’re talking about credibility of our city. Do we want to do business like this?”

Councilor Andy Vargas suggested a suspension of the rules at an upcoming school committee session for their reconsideration.  He noted there is a petition effort online for such action.

“There’s a petition online signed by 188 people – there’s parents and students that have signed this petition. We have students in the audience who have come to pay attention to this, so folks are paying attention and are aware. It’s just really disheartening to know three votes on the school committee are roadblocking $10 million in taxpayer savings and a new roof,” Vargas said.

Fiorentini did not attend the council meeting, as requested by Michitson.

2 thoughts on “City Councilors Want High School Solar Project ‘One Way or Another’

  1. EVERY energy proposal Orlando Pacheco and mayor taxman have brought forward in the city have been chuck full of intentional lies, inaccurate reporting of savings, and mistruths. Remember the electricity aggregation program the mayor set up last year where he and Pacheco promoted front page headlines of Haverhill citizens “SAVING 30% ON THEIR ELECTRIC BILL” ? The program has been in affect for months….has anyone noticed any savings at all? You won’t, because the real savings was going to be only 4%. The savings projections were a bold faced lie from the beginning.

    Has even one city councilor ever stopped to ask questions about this energy aggregation program or any other programs set up by Pacheco after the fact? Here is the council again racing off chasing a fantasy. It’s so predictable…

    ACORN Andy….As you set off with your liberal mindset in your career to promote government being the answer everything, you may want to take a course in logic. Apparently, they didn’t have one in the government curriculum at BU. In a city with a population of over 62,000 people, 188 people signing a petition represents .003% of the total population. It isn’t even half of one percent!!! In the real world Andy, by your own logic 61,800+ people have NOT signed the petition and therefore are against or could care less about this project. No matter how you cut it….elected officials should NOT be making public policy decisions based on the interests and opinions of less than 1% of the population !!

  2. “Fiorentini did not attend the council meeting, as requested by Michitson.” –

    MassAmerican LLC campaign contributions:

    Quincy Vale donated $100.00 to Mayor Jimmy last year
    Too many David Ellis’s, but none donated locally
    Richard Chase (can’t tell), but none donated locally
    Sven Amirian donated $700 since 2013 to Dempsey, DiZoglio, Ives, and Baker

    $800 bucks isn’t exactly “pay-to-play”, don’t think Mayor Jimmy missing the meeting is for conflict of interest.