Resident seeking more information about Jackson solar project

I read the March 10 article in the Tri-Town News (“School Board Seeks Support for Solar Energy Initiative”) with interest. It sounds like progress and a good idea, but the article appears to be written for someone other than the home-owning taxpayer.

The article talks about savings and federal funds and gross income — all of which sound good. It also said the cost to the taxpayer will be about $6 per year, which isn’t much, but it is an increase because of the interest on the loan that is needed.

It is too easy to read that article and believe the savings and income will be used as additional money and not “replacement” money for the school district’s budget. How much does the savings and income offset the debt service in the next five years, 10 years, and life of the debt?

How much and when will taxes be lowered or avoided because of this project? That is what the voters want to know.

Without answers to these questions, all we know for sure is (that there will be) more debt we have to pay for which requires an instant $6 tax increase with who knows how much more later if there are problems and it does not work out as planned.

By the way, since this is a longterm plan, when the solar cells are no longer operable and need to be replaced, will that be some future set of loans or is there a plan to save for maintenance and eventual replacement? Finally, this is a 25-year project. The solar cells go on the roofs. I know roofs do not last 25 years. What are the costs involved in fixing and replacing roofs that have solar panels on them? Has that been factored in?

If some of the savings and income that was mentioned are not set aside for what seem to be future expenses, why would I want to approve something that will cost the next generation a lot of money? It is that kind of thinking that has gotten New Jersey and the United States into budget difficulties.

Mike Smith Jackson