East Hampton to install gas-fired boilers in various buildings
EAST HAMPTON >> In a move intended to inspire confidence among potential commercial clients as well as the utility, the town council on Tuesday approved nine service agreements with Connecticut Natural Gas.
The agreements involve installing new gas-fired boilers in the range of town facilities, including the schools and the town hall.
The boiler conversion program is one of the conditions established by the utility in exchange for bringing natural gas to East Hampton.
During the discussion on the issue Tuesday, Terri Eller, a CNG representative, said the town must commit to a portion of the project’s total cost before the installation of the nine-mile gas pipeline can begin.
“We have to secure 10 percent of the revenues from East Hampton before we can move forward,” Eller said.
“We’re investing $6 million of our money and $1.5 million of our rate-payers’ money,” Eller told the council.
However, Eller also said that the commitment of commercial customers who have approached the utility about tying into the pipeline could count toward the town’s 10-percent share.
As the council weighed its options, town manager Michael Maniscalco said, “Some of those commercial customers are waiting for the town to move forward.”
Approving the service agreements “would serve as signal to those businesses,” Maniscalco said.
The town anticipates paying $1.2 million as its share of the total project cost.
The town has applied for a $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program state grant to help defray a portion of those costs.
However, it will likely be at least Feb. 1 before the town learns the success of the grant application, Maniscalco said.
The agreements that were approved Tuesday do not cover the middle school.
CNG has agreed to tie-in the school, but needs to get an easement first to run the connection to the school, the utility representative said.
The council was expected to approve 10 agreements.
But Councilor Mark Philhower, who is an HVAC contractor, objected to installing a boiler in the Co. No. 2 fire house in Cobalt.
The fire department leases that building. But fire officials have said it is in deteriorating condition and too small for a 21st-century station.
The Facilities Assessment Committee established by the council has recommended building a new fire house at another location.
“It makes no sense to spend $20,000 to $30,000 to convert Co. 2 and then leave that building,” Philhower said. “We’d be spending money for nothing.”
Elle, the CNG representative, agreed to reexamine the cost estimate for the overall project absent Co. 2 and report back to the council at its Jan. 27 meeting.
Philhower also urged the council to be cautious about deciding what size boiler to install in the Center School.
The school is at the center of discussion about possibly relocating town hall — and perhaps police department to the building.
Philhower said the town can install a relatively inexpensive boiler while its makes a decision whether or not to take over the school building.
Maniscalco said he hopes to have all the boiler conversions completed by next winter.
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