45 years of service

Don Fontaine Jr. was honored for 45 years of service to Sullivan County. Fontaine retired from his position as a Sullivan County deputy sheriff recently.

NEWPORT — Sullivan County begins selling thermal renewable energy credits (T-RECs) on the open market July 15, thanks to its biomass burning facility at the county complex in Unity.

The county will be posting the T-RECs to a bulletin board dedicated to trade in RECs. The New England Power Pool Generation Information System (NEPOOL GIS) issues and tracks credits for energy produced in its New England control area. The NEPOOL GIS tracks combined heat and power, demand response and conservation and load management certificates.

“The platform creates the information for other people to see,” explained Facilities Director Mary Bourque at the county commissioners’ meeting July 1. “And we negotiate our own sale.”

Bourque said even though the T-RECs don’t go on sale until July 15, she’s been getting a call a week from people offering to buy the county’s certificates.

The county has only just begun collecting credits, starting in the end of the first quarter. From March 19-31 the county generated 305 T-RECs. The trading window for the first quarter credits is July 15 — Sept. 15.

Bourque asked the commissioners to clarify whose decision it will be to sell the T-RECs and how the process will work, to make sure she’s authorized to complete the transaction.

“There’s probably a flurry of activity at the beginning of the quarter and then it tapers off, so the longer you hold them the better price you can get — but that’s just my assumption,” said Bourque.

So far she’s been offered $24-26 per REC. County Manager Derek Ferland said the county expects to receive around $80,000 over the course of a year.

The NEPOOL GIS serves the function of a trading floor, or a bulletin board where buyers and sellers can share information. Types of RECs, such as solar or thermal, the amount being sold, and so forth are advertised. Buyers also post data on what they’re looking for.

Bourque said she’d like to try selling them without contracting that out to someone first. “It will be interesting to see what price we get on our own and how much staff time it takes.” she said.

Fontaine honored for 45 years’ service

Sheriff John Simonds honored Don Fontaine, Jr., retiring after 45 years of service to the county. Deputy Sheriff Fontaine was honored with a commemorative plaque that included two badges — one from early service and one of the newer ones — and the plate from his squad car, #7.

“I’ve wrecked a few cars or dented ‘em with this plate,” said Fontaine with a grin. Fontaine served from 1973 to 2019.

Transporting people

In the sheriff’s report, Simonds said he’d traveled to Concord to testify before a legislative committee on a bill that will change the procedure for transporting people in a mental health crisis.

The new legislation will require a doctor to decide on the use of restraints during transport, rather than the deputies.

“The ambulance may be transporting them, but they’re going to be calling us anyway,” said Simonds. “If they’re going to call us, we get to pick [how to restrain them].

“These folks have mental health issues. If they call us, they’re either suicidal or homicidal. They’re having one of their worst days ever — we don’t want them jumping out of the back of the car on the way to Concord.” Sheriff Simonds said these transports are to the New Hampshire Hospital for the mentally ill.

Simonds said it was odd that the ambulance companies weren’t represented in the testimony before the committee.

Real estate moving fast

Registrar of Deeds Janet Gibson reported it’s been a good year at the deeds office. Not only do they have a new system that makes documents more accessible and easier to handle, she said, “Real estate is really moving.

“You could put your house up on the market and have a price war,” said Gibson. “There’s just not enough on the market. Whatever houses are out there are getting snapped up.”

Claremont, Grantham and Sunapee lead the real estate transfers for spring. In March Claremont saw 22 real estate transfers; Grantham and Newport both had 11, followed by Sunapee with 8. April’s real estate transfers were: Claremont 20, Grantham 17, Sunapee 14. May: Claremont 25, Grantham 20, followed by Newport at 17.

Gibson said she’d queried realtors on where the buyers are coming from. “Lebanon,” she reported. “People don’t mind traveling a half hour to be able to come home and afford their mortgage.

“We just had one house sell for $110,000 over the assessed value,” she said.

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