MORRISTOWN, NJ - Morris County Sheriff Rochford robo called approximately 10,000 residents on behalf of the New Jersey Taxpayers’ Association, urging county residents to attend the meeting held Monday night regarding unbuilt solar sites in the county, saying: “They are (the freeholders) considering building more controversial solar projects even though the current projects are losing millions of your dollars.’’
Over 30 residents attended a public information and question-answer session on viablilty of unbuilt solar sites in the county.
“Contrary to what Sheriff Rochford was telling people on his robo-calls to county residents over the weekend, the goal of our current solar or renewable energy project review is to minimize future potential financial exposure for our taxpayers, to help reimburse them for past losses, and to ensure that any future steps we take are fiscally sound,’’ said Freeholder David Scapicchio.
“I’m not sure what expertise Sheriff Rochford can offer on solar issues. The sheriff’s calls were odd – like his behavior in the past year – but he probably did us a favor to invite people to come out and be part of this discussion.’’
MCIA Counsel Matthew Jessup and Thomas Brys of Matrix New World Engineering, the county’s consultant on solar projects, discussed the viability of 15 potential sites and could be built, if approved by the freeholders.
The long term potential to generate revenue to help offset the financial looses are being reviewed. The committee will also look to reduce energy costs for the local school district, municipals or county buildings where solar panels would be installed.
Rochford did not attend Monday night’s solar session.
“While the solar program bonds were issued in 2010 and 2011 by a prior freeholder board, we have a fiduciary responsibility to Morris County taxpayers regardless of our prior misgivings,’’ said Freeholder John Krickus. “Our primary focus now is damage control, minimizing the losses the county will incur. The county faces potential additional losses depending on the market value of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs),'' he said.
The MCIA, in concert with a Morris County Freeholder’s “Build-No Build Committee,’’ were asked by the freeholders to make recommendations regarding the financial and operational aspects of the unbuilt renewable energy sites. Based on this information, the freeholders will decide in the near future whether to move ahead with any of the unbuilt projects.
The freeholders will get a final report from the MCIA and the board’s “Build-No Build Committee’’ in the near future, and will make a decision on those sites later this fall.