Bill would help New York community convert to biomass

By New York State Sen. Betty Littleā€™s office | June 09, 2015

The New York state Senate recently approved legislation that would help the town of Chester finance the cost of a new wood pellet heating system by extending the length of time it may bond for the project from 10 to 15 years.

Sen. Betty Little sponsored the measure at the request of Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe and the town board.

“The current law does not accurately reflect the probable useful life of a boiler or furnace, which makes financing a challenge,” said Little. “This change will help the Town of Chester and others that may be seeking to convert to renewable, natural resources for heating.

“With the push for renewables, this change in law is timely, helping not only the Town of Chester but I expect other municipalities interested in doing the same.”

Supervisor Fred Monroe said, "The Town of Chester appreciates Senator Little's efforts in shepherding this legislation through the Senate.  It will benefit the Town of Chester and also help other municipalities with renewable source heating projects."

Chester’s municipal complex uses an oil-fired steam heating system.  The conversion to wood pellets is expected to save the town $18,000-$19,000 annually on heating costs.  The town has won grants from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and USDA in support of the conversion project.

Specifically, the legislation, S.2907, would amend the Local Finance Law to specify that the period of probable usefulness of the installation or reconstruction of a heating system in a municipal building would be 15 years.  Existing law provides for a 10-year period for a heating, lighting, plumbing, ventilating elevator or power plant or system for class "A" or "B" building and five years for a class "C" building.

The legislation passed the Assembly on May 18 where it is sponsored by Assemblymen Dan Stec and John McDonald.

The New York Biomass Energy Alliance supports enactment of the legislation.