FREEPORT — The Town Council Tuesday night voted unanimously to upgrade the Town Hall ventilation system with a system burns either oil or gas.
Town Planner Donna Larson previously recommended a heat pump system that would run on electricity with a back-up burner, but with a price tag of approximately $220,000, she said the payback would not support the investment.
“I suggest that we get rid of the bad piping in the building – soon – in both the basement and the attic, replace the faulty values, and put a high-efficiency boiler in the basement,” she said. “Oil is the way to go.”
Larson said the replacements could be installed for about $100,000.
“If electric looks likes the way to go in a few years, we’ll put pumps in the attic and go that way,” she said. “Right now, the savings are better spent treating windows, installing insulation and sealing the building tight.”
She said she discussed the options with Will Bennett of Bennett Engineering, Charlie Burnham of Charlie Burnham Heating Services, and Mechanical Services Inc. and they all agreed “this was a perfectly reasonable way to go.”
Councilor Bill Muldoon and other councilors applauded Larson’s work. “This system will put us in a position for future change,” Muldoon said.
Town Manager Dale Olmstead said the council will wait to hear about prices when bids for the work return, and will figure out the funding mechanism at that time.
In other business, councilors adopted goals for the year that include exploring creative budgeting and regional alliances, recognizing the importance of communication with Regional School Unit 5 and the public through cable TV access and Web sites, continued work to create a Chamber of Commerce, and collaboration with the Planning Board on business and residential growth, the Comprehensive Plan and resource sustainability.
Councilors agreed to revisit the goals on a quarterly basis in an effort to help guide them through action items.
Chairman Rich DeGrandpre promised the council will use these goals and not “stuff them away or put them on a shelf.”
Councilors also voted 6-0 to allow the Freeport Sewer District access to Leon Gorman Park to replace and upgrade sewer lines, pending final approval from the town engineer.
According to Tom Allen, superintendent of the sewer district, winter construction will take three weeks to complete and the park would not be disturbed for public use.
Olmstead also reported that the Maine Emergency Management Agency awarded Freeport about $60,000 for reimbursement for flood and infrastructure damage last July and August. He also said five people have been interviewed for the finance director position, and three will be called back for second interviews. A director will be selected by early March.
The next council meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. in Town Hall Council Chambers.