Freehold Borough will join coalition to pursue lower energy costs

FREEHOLD – Officials in Freehold Borough will participate in a Monmouth County coalition that will seek to provide cleaner energy and a cleaner environment to the community.

During a recent meeting, Borough Council members voted 4-2 to authorize the town’s participation in the Sustainable Monmouth Alliance (SMA).

According to a resolution, the SMA will pool purchasing and negotiating power for better energy pricing and improved environmental attributes. Red Bank has been designated as the coalition’s lead agency.

As stated in the resolution, Freehold Borough is striving to be a sustainable community by initiating and supporting environmental efforts aimed at preserving and maintaining clean land, air and water.

With this goal in mind, municipal officials are supporting efforts to improve and increase the renewable content of the community’s electrical supply, lower residents’ electric bill and reduce environmental impact of their electrical usage.

The SMA is a government energy aggregation program through which multiple energy consumers purchase energy together. The program is permitted under state statute, according to the resolution.

The coalition will have a representative from each participating municipality. Those individuals will make decisions regarding the energy aggregation program on behalf of their municipalities.

Through the program, Freehold Borough is seeking to obtain cleaner energy at as low a cost as possible for residential and business participants in town, according to the resolution.

The borough’s SMA members will present the mayor and council with the coalition’s recommendations for an energy consultant. The consultant will prepare ordinances, issue the required notifications, obtain the necessary approvals and draft the bidding documents to solicit third party energy suppliers.

Council members George Schnurr, Annette Jordan, Margaret Rogers and Adam Reich voted “yes” on a motion to participate in the SMA.

Council President Michael DiBenedetto and Councilwoman Sharon Shutzer voted “no” on the motion.

Shutzer said she supports reducing the borough’s carbon footprint, but explained she is opposed to a program that automatically enrolls residents and requires them to opt out instead of opting in.