Commission considers green energy rebates

Washer, refrigerator purchases included in deal

The Moffat County Comm­ission has until Tuesday to decide whether it wants to partner with the Governor’s Energy Office to provide rebate incentives for new purchases that improve energy efficiency or use renewable resources.

Kate Nowak, Yampa Valley Partners executive director, made a presentation about the project to the commission at its Nov. 24 meeting.

If the county agrees to partner, then local residents would get an additional rebate for new purchases of energy efficient or renewable energy home and commercial materials.

Included in the deal are energy efficient insulation, clothes washers, refrigerators and gas-condensing furnaces, as well as any products that use solar, thermal or wind power.

If the county does not agree to partner, then residents will get a $75 rebate from the state — paid for with federal dollars — for the same purchases.

The program has $20 million in dedicated funds, which will be available until 2012, or until the money runs out. Residents may only get one efficiency and one renewable rebate for each property.

Moffat County commissioners Audrey Danner and Tom Gray expressed some dismay that the state needs a response within a week of making its offer.

Nowak said she only had received the presentation details that morning on Nov. 24, but that officials want to start the program and begin paying out rebates as soon as possible.

Neither commissioner seemed very interested, however.

Danner said she is concerned the state is paying for staff hours to administer the program, and she wondered if it was the best use of limited resources.

Gray’s objections seemed more philosophical. He asked Nowak why she thought people’s tax dollars should be used to give out rebates for private purchases.

“Some people believe that it’s OK for the government to offer rebates,” Nowak responded. “It’s just a matter of if you want your county residents to be offered more (rebate) dollars or not.”

Gray was not convinced the plan had much merit, however.

“Are we going to be giving out rebates for other things?” he asked. “Where do we stop? Pretty quick we’re going to be saying we need to raise your taxes. We spent so much helping you out, we need to raise taxes to help you some more.”

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