LISBON — The town has joined the school department in a joint venture to save money on energy costs.

But a Request for Qualifications approved by the Town Council on Tuesday night is more than just a cost-savings effort. The town is looking for a “guaranteed performance contract” that spells out how much money needs to be invested to fix, modernize and tune up heating, ventilating and cooling equipment to reduce energy costs. The guaranteed performance contract ensures that whatever money is invested will be recouped from lower energy costs, thus costing taxpayers nothing.

Town Manager Steve Eldridge said council members met Monday night with school board members to learn more about the idea.

“This proposal can save us money on energy costs, and with that, we can upgrade all our systems instead of doing it through capital improvements,” Eldridge said. “If not, they’ll write us a check,” he added.

Town Council Chairman Fern Larochelle said, “It’s exciting to see the town and the School Department working together on this. Combining all the town and school facilities makes this work.”

After a contract is awarded, an audit will be done of all the facilities, including things such as boiler plants, building infrastructure, windows, electrical systems, lighting and roofs. Priorities are set for what improvements need to be made, and a mix of alternative and renewable energy options will be considered, including biofuels and wind and solar energy.

In other business, the council had the first reading of an ordinance that would take nearly $40,000 from the surplus fund balance to cover wage increases negotiated with the town’s unions. A total of $39,925 will be needed to pay for the salary increases to cover the new contract agreements.

A public hearing is set for the next council meeting Nov. 19.

Ryan Cormier and Kathy Tyson of Runyon Kersteen Ouellette presented this year’s audit of the town and school budgets. He said although the school department had anticipated using about $250,000 in undesignated funds, they ended the year with a $30,000 surplus.

Councilor Dillon Pesce asked how invoices are reviewed.

Cormier said they look at samples, either randomly looking at invoices or using a more structured approach, such as every 10th or 12th invoice.

Councilors reviewed a five-page list of names of delinquent taxpayers whose properties have had liens put on them. The total owed to the town is more than $200,000. Foreclosure procedures will begin next month.

Councilors agreed to send out a second registered letter to each property owner. However, Eldridge said he expects most people will contact the Town Office to set up a payment schedule before the foreclosure procedures begin.


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