Local company presents plan to town board
Mancos Times editor
The town could be going solar for its new wastewater treatment plant. In last weeks meeting, the town board heard from Brian Morrison, a representative of Red Wagon Energy, a small business here in Mancos that links users with reliable and sustainable renewable energy solutions. Morrison specializes in offshore conservation management, bringing lots of experience and knowledge to the business.
He explained how Red Wagon Energy would build, operate and maintain a solar canopy next to the facility to generate a savings of 10 percent or more, or $2,400 annually, depending on the current cost of electricity.
It wouldnt offset the entire demand for electricity, Morrison said, But it would offset about 30 to 35 percent of it. And it would be aesthetically attractive.
The canopy would provide much-needed shade and the protection of the equipment, he said.
The only cost to the town would be the initial dirt work in the area, which is minimal, said town administrator Tom Yennerell.
The board will discuss it and decide at a later meeting.
The town board heard from neighbors of Western Excelsior who have had complaints in the past about the dust, debris and noise coming from the plant. Norm Birtcher, plant manager for the last 12 years for Western Excelsior, was at the meeting to answer questions and discuss concerns, with both the board and the neighbors who were present - Anthony and Vicki Maestas.
Complaints from Maestas include the dust coming from the plant; the debris in their yard; and the noise coming from the plant, especially a few times that there was banging on a silo in the middle of the night.
They promised to build a fence on the east side, said Maestas, and it hasnt been done yet. Im not even sure it will fix the problem.
His wife, Vicki, spoke about their granddaughter, who has asthma, and the fact that they cant allow her to go outside to play because of the dust in the air. We would invite you over for a barbecue, but you probably wouldnt want to eat outside, she said.
Birtcher spoke to the board and addressed the problems that the Maestas mentioned. I met with the residents after the board meeting where they had voiced their concerns, he said. We no longer unload straw trucks in the yard and we went over and raked up the straw in the front yard of the Maestas He said they also had built a sheet metal bin to minimize the dust from the operations that go on at the plant.
Birtcher also said that the contractor that is building the fence that was promised had said it would be completed by the end of September. It will be eight feet high and will keep trash from getting to the neighbors. It will also, he said, keep the neighbors from having to look at the plant.
I think weve tried to be proactive and address the concerns, Birtcher said. Were trying to be better neighbors. I am willing to talk with anyone about their concerns, and I invite them to call me anytime about them. I try not to be adversarial.
Birtcher also took the time to tell the board about Western Excelsior. He said that it had contributed to Montezuma County since 1948 when it was a match company. They have 130 full time employees, have a $3 million payroll, and have some of the best health care insurance coverage in the Four Corners area.
He also cited that the ventilation system inside the plant was better than what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards required them to have. No employee has developed an allergy to dust, he said.
But he also said there is always room to improve. I will prioritize the ventilation system. I have a great management team over there. I throw them an idea and they do better than I do with it, he said.
The board also discussed plantings around town where they should be done and who would do the planting and maintaining. Many ideas were tossed around. It was agreed that various places on the sides of the highway would be planted to make them look better.