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CA to Add Solar Panels to Amherst House

The Columbia Association also voted to partially fund a trip to France for four representatives.

Columbia Association announced recently it would add solar panels to the Amherst House in King's Contrivance. The association also voted to partially fund a trip for four CA representatives to travel to France.

CA plans to place 100 solar panels on the roof of Amherst House in King's Contrivance at a cost of $100,000 according to an article on Explore Howard. The article states the panels will provide about 75 percent of the energy needs of the facility, which is managed by the King's Contrivance Community Association.

In March, CA at the River Hill pool and neighborhood center, which a CA spokesperson said cost $25,000 at the time.

In addition, on Thursday the CA board voted to spend about $2,500 on airfare for four CA representatives to attend a sister-city twinning celebration in CA's French "sister" city, Cergy-Pontoise, in September, according to Explore Howard.

Under the compromise, attendees would pay half the airfare (expected to be about $1,500) while CA would pay the other half.

The resolution passed by a 6-3 vote, with Town Center representative Suzanne Waller abstaining, according to the article.

In an asking whether the board should approve the airfare, four commenters said it was a poor expense.

"I think this is absolutely ridiculous, particularly when the exchange students participating in events for the sister city program had to pay for their own airfare," wrote KevinXB. "I see no reason why the board should not do the same if they want to participate in what is labeled a celebration. This is not a planned community summit where important topics of relevance to Columbia's operation will be discussed."

CA board member Alex Hekimian, who represents Oakland Mills, voted against the resolution and said, "I see this more as a social thing, more of a celebration. In fact, they call it a celebration, they don't call it a conference," said Hekimian, according to Explore Howard. "My preference is whoever goes should pay their own airfare."

CA board member Tom Coale wrote that he supported paying half of the airfare for the CA representatives who wanted to attend.

After the vote, Coale wrote on his blog, Hoco Rising, "I believe that so long as the Columbia Association has decided to participate in the Sister Cities program, we have an obligation to send representatives to those events.  As a compromise, I said that I would vote for 50% fare for four people.  I also noted at the meeting that I do this begrudgingly and that the definition of a compromise is that neither side leaves completely happy." 

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Kevin I. August 13, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Thank you Ed Coleman and Alex Hekimian for doing the right thing here.
Matt M August 13, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Goodness, $100,000?. What is the monthly or yearly monetary outlay for powering the Amherst House, pre-solar panels?

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