By PATRICK WAGER
ONEONTA – Now, the hard work begins.
What’s now called Otsego County 21-member “Energy Working Group” will convene for the first time at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, in Old City Hall.
And coming out of the Otsego County Chamber’s “Energy & Infrastructure Summit” two weeks ago at The Otesaga, the word “compromise” is in the air.
“I don’t see compromise as being a dirty word,” said county Rep. Michele Farwell, who with Meg Kennedy, C-Mount Vision, is leading the effort. “I see compromise as being able to actually accomplish genuine movement forward. I feel that this is what my constituents look for in county government – getting the real work done.”
Still, they expect challenges. She and Kennedy both “noticed a pattern,” Farwell continued. “One side says, we need jobs. And the other side says, we need to protect the planet.”
All 21 members of the Energy Working Group – divided into four groups: Building & Efficiency, Energy Supply & Distribution, Economic Development, and Environment – are expected at the first meeting.
Also attending with be a group of “technical advisers,” from an engineer to a lawyer.
At this point, the timeline, according to Kennedy is that “the plan will be ready for SEQRA review in 18 months. Hopefully ready to adopt in roughly 24 months. An ambitious goal, but I think we can manage.”
After the initial meeting, each group will meet and select a leader who will keep a Leadership Group – Kennedy, Farwell, Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood, City Engineer Greg Mattice and the OCCA’s Leslie Orzetti – apprised monthly on progress.
The Leadership Group will attend meetings on a regular basis, and continue with monthly groups.”