Plainfield Advances Clean Energy and Debates Animal Control Services

In a recent Plainfield City Council meeting, discussions centered on the city’s clean energy initiatives and the management of animal control services. The council examined the 2021 Community Energy Plan presented by DMR Architects, which is designed to align with the state’s 2019 energy master plan. It aims for 100% clean energy by 2050, reduced greenhouse emissions, and includes a public EV charging network. The plan’s potential to lower taxes was emphasized, along with the availability of implementation funding up to $500,000 per municipality from the Board of Public Utilities. Council members engaged in discussions about the plan, inquiring about its details, particularly the criteria for the grant and the selection of reputable solar installation companies.

The council also tackled a issue regarding animal control services following the termination of the contract with the Plainfield Area Humane Society. A resolution to authorize a two-month contract with Title Shot LLC for animal control services at a cost of $13,000 per month led to a debate over the capacity of the new provider, handling of cats, and absence of a neutering policy. Despite concerns raised about the accuracy of the shelter’s capacity and animal care, the Department of Health stressed the urgency of finding a solution to the unfunded mandate on managing abandoned animals.

The meeting addressed various other significant items, including energy efficiency projects for municipal buildings, the potential benefits of a solar program for residential property owners, and grant funding for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The council discussed grant availability, hoping it would be accessible biennially depending on state and federal budgets, and the city’s economic development team’s efforts to ensure zoning accommodates solar installations.

Public comments included concerns over a proposed Redevelopment plan that involved a church parking lot, highlighting the importance of the lot to the church and community, as well as the impact on religious freedom. Residents urged the council to consider these implications carefully before proceeding.

The council discussed legislative items, resolutions related to workers’ compensation fraud cases, grant submissions, appointment of a tax assessor, and budget transfers. There was positive feedback on the return of the tax assessor, with commendations for her fair assessments.

The Police Department sought approval for a distracted driving crackdown grant, intended for education and enforcement, potentially involving high school students. The Department of Public Works presented resolutions aimed at enhancing Jake Law Playground, and the Department of Economic Development proposed several resolutions, including the acceptance of a grant for the Center of Excellence.

Further discussions highlighted resolution 17224, recognizing the 2024 National Community Development week, and resolutions authorizing public protection services and fireworks for a house music festival. The most debated resolution involved the management of abandoned animals, with the council ultimately reaching a consensus to reconsider it for further discussion.

The Department of Communication proposed a lease agreement for copiers, and the Department of Solid Waste presented resolutions for an auction of vehicles and equipment and the addition of a fueling station.

The council introduced six ordinances on first reading, focusing on parking violations, tree removal, and a ban on the sale of hemp-derived products. Public comments raised issues about animal control, illegal dumping, and housing concerns.

The meeting concluded with the final passage of several ordinances, including those related to parking restrictions, a set-aside program for minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses, land use penalties, and redevelopment plans. Resolutions designating redevelopment areas and authorizing animal control services were voted on separately, with mixed outcomes.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Adrian O. Mapp
City Council Officials:
Steve G. Hockaday, Robert K. Graham, Julienne Cherry, Richard Wyatt, Dr. Darcella Sessomes, Charles McRae, Terri Briggs-Jones

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