Cape council finds funds for new school boiler

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CAPE ELIZABETH — With financial help from the Town Council, a $350,000 high school boiler will be replaced and a new heating system will be installed at the Donald Richards Pool for $29,000.

At a Feb. 14 Town Council meeting, Town Manager Mike McGovern said the town received more overlay – about $185,000 more taxes generated due to property valuation – than expected for this year. In a memorandum from McGovern to the council dated Feb. 4, he noted the total overlay was more than $410,000 and $200,000 will be proposed to be used for municipal capital needs.

In order to avoid a bond to replace the boiler and heating system, the council voted 7-0 to allocate $200,000 from a municipal undesignated fund balance. The additional $150,000 would be funded by a short-term loan or lease through the School Department.

McGovern said since the energy savings from a new boiler are estimated to be up to $40,000 a year and the loan over five years could cost up to $190,000, there would be no negative impact to the school budget.

“I think this is a good plan because it shows that the School Department can get these new boilers without taking away from funds that would otherwise be used to directly educate the kids,” McGovern said. “Plus it also has no negative impact on our tax bills.”

Councilor Anne Swift-Kayatta said this plan is an excellent example of the one-town concept.

“This makes our town much more efficient than many other communities, where the municipal side of the budget and the school side of budget are handled as separate silos,” she said. “I commend the superintendent and School Board and the manager for figuring this out because it’s in the best interest of the people in the end I think for us to operate in this way.”

In other business, councilors added an additional public hearing to their budget meeting schedule in order to receive more input before they vote on April 25.

The council will meet to discuss the budget on March 16, March 21, April 4, April 6 and April 11. A public hearing on the proposed budget will also be held April 11.

Councilors will vote on the budget on April 25 and the school budget referendum will be held May 10.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net

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