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Will Lynn go green?

LYNN — The city could get a lot greener and get paid to do it.

If Lynn were to join the 185 Bay State communities who have been designated a “Green Community,” its energy bill could be reduced by 12 percent and reap up to $1 million in grants.

On Tuesday night, the City Council’s Education & Environmental Affairs Committee heard from the state Department of Energy Resources on how they can go green and earn green.

This year, Lynn will spend $5.3 million on energy, including electricity, gas and oil. The green savings would be about 12 percent or about $600,000.

In order to qualify, the city must adopt new rules that allow for as-of-right permitting for renewable or alternative energy facilities and agree to purchase fuel efficient vehicles.

The state funds could be used to buy electric vehicles, energy efficient or renewable energy HVAC systems, and LED lighting.

City Councilor Wayne Lozzi introduced Neal Duffy, the Northeast Regional coordinator of the state’s Energy Resources Green Communities Division provided city councilors with ways to become green and get up to $1 million in grants.

“It’s my strong wish that Lynn be designated a Green Community to receive all the energy savings benefits,” he said.

Last year, the state’s Green Communities distributed $81 million in grants, Duffy said. He said he expects 20 more Massachusetts communities will go green this year.

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy expressed concern that the cost of buying electric cars and trucks could make it difficult for the city to afford green status.  

But Duffy said the city does not have to replace all their gas vehicles at once, only after one is removed from service.

The committee voted to continue discussions on going green.

In other matters, it will be more expensive for applicants for permits and licenses to get projects approved. The panel voted to pass along the public notice advertising costs to applicants as a way to save taxpayers money. Last year, the City Clerk’s office alone spent $34,000 on the ads.

The council also voted to increase the fee for door-to-door solicitors to $100, up from $10 and require them to obtain a permit from the city before knocking on doors.

“This is for the safety of solicitors and residents,” said City Council President Darren Cyr.

The future of an abandoned 880-square-foot cottage on Saunders Road won’t be known for a while. The city seized the house more than a year ago for nonpayment of taxes. Earlier this year, the city issued a request for bids. The city received bids from $29,900 to $111,500.

But Cyr requested all the deposits be returned and start over.

“We need to do a little more work on this and then we will be ready to go,” he said.

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