2012-07-05 / Front Page

Town to upgrade energy efficiency

Recent audit yields recommendations
BY ALEXANDER RAEBURN

After an energy audit provided by Johnson Controls detailed ways to improve efficiency in town buildings two weeks ago, the Town Council decided at its July 2 meeting to pursue the recommended improvements while keeping costs down by handling the projects at the local level, without the continued services of Johnson Controls.

The plan is to have the energy savings pay for the improvements over a seven-year period. Public Works Director Michael Gray, who was sitting in for Town Administrator Bruce Keiser, said he “had a quote which was much lower than what Johnson Controls had provided.”

Gray and Keiser had previously worked to find the cost for the project with contractors used for previous improvements to town facilities. According to Gray, money will be saved because the town itself will do the work.

“There are some administrative costs that are important to note,” said Gray. “When there’s a thirdparty review, once you implemented your project that there is essentially a savings that they say you’re going to get. There’s a cost of doing that.”

Gray said that if the town “selfperforms,” these administrative costs could be saved. He added that Johnson Controls is asking for another 30 percent for administrative costs, which would amount to about $45,000.

Council President Michael Schnack mentioned that the current cost of Johnson Controls’ assessment was around $6,000, and that it would need to be paid even though the town will not pursue their contract.

That cost will be covered by a state energy grant provided to the town. Gray said that the grant “still provides us money to do a project which we’ve estimated for the library boiler replacement.”

Councilor William Murphy said that after discussions with Keiser, they would “use the [Johnson Controls’] plan as a blueprint and it would cost the town less if they did it themselves.”

“At this point I don’t think there’s anything for us to do but say keep going Bruce,” said Murphy.

The council also discussed the rededication of the Fort Getty pavilion to Lt. Col. John C. Rembijas. The council is waiting on the installation of the new sign before setting a date for the dedication ceremony.

The council also voted on a motion made by Murphy to rename the west trail at Fort Getty after Jamestown firefighter Bucky Caswell in recognition of 65 years of continued service.

In other news, Schnack asked to push a discussion of brush trimming at Beavertail State Park until the next meeting. The issue in question stems from the spring of this year when a contractor trimmed the brush below the 6-foot minimum dictated by the state.

“This was done in March, as well, so the vegetation has changed since the buzz cut that it got,” Councilor Ellen Winsor said.

A bid was also awarded for the town’s road paving to Cardi Corporation. Gray said that the cost was comparable to last year’s bid. “I was anticipating a much higher number,” said Gray. “I have to say it did get very aggressive this year.” He noted that a drop in fuel prices and a lack of available work could have contributed to the low bids this year.

The Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation’s free Wednesday sailing was also approved, pending the signature of the recreation director. The program, which takes place at Fort Getty, is still waiting for answers to how guests of the free sailing event can get into the park without paying the entrance fee, or whether individuals should still have to pay the entrance fee before attending the event. As of now, it is unsure how entrance to the park will be handled for those strictly there for the free sailing event.

The council also voted to approve the reappointment of two members of the Jamestown Fire Department compensation committee. Ronald Barber and Paul Balzer will continue their work on the committee for another three years until May 31, 2015.

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