MECHANIC FALLS — The wood-pellet boiler that heats buildings in the municipal complex is working again, Town Manager John Hawley told the Town Council on Monday.

He credited representatives sent here by the boiler’s manufacturer in the Czech Republic.

“New parts had arrived a week prior to their arrival (Sunday, Feb. 9),” Hawley said, “and the boiler was up and running before the end of the day on the 10th.”

Hawley had been trying to get the system working since last March, when a fire damaging a few relatively inexpensive, but vital, parts knocked the boiler off line.

The manufacturer’s U.S. representative, Ron Kirkendorfer of Northline Energy in Washington state, proved to be slow to help, Hawley said, and, to make matters worse, once replacement parts had been shipped to this country, they disappeared after the town had provided a $2,600 to help the parts clear U.S. Customs.

The manufacturer stepped in, got another set of replacement parts to the town and sent in people who could properly install them.

Hawley noted that the town, forced in the interim to rely on an old oil burner as a backup, has spent a whole lot more for fuel than it had intended to. At least the town’s insurance paid for damages caused by the fire — less the town’s $1,000 deductible, he said.

Regarding the $2,600 check sent to Kirkendorfer, Hawley said he had recently been able to contact him and had received a check in the amount of $2,600 — which bounced for lack of funds.

“Now that the insurance claim has been paid on the wood-pellet boiler,” Hawley said, “I am seeking guidance on how to deal with the theft of funds by Ron Kirkendorfer.”

The chief problem being, Hawley pointed out, that it appears Kirkendorfer owes a whole lot of people a whole lot more than is owed to Mechanic Falls.

“Some are owed thousands and thousands, in fact I found out he never paid Maine Boiler, who installed our boiler,” Hawley said.

The council agreed that, given the relatively small loss Mechanic Falls has experienced, the town should wait and see if a class-action lawsuit develops. If one does, the town could join it.

“Best we just sit this out for now,” Councilor Stephen Bolduc advised.

In other business the councilors, after determining that their decision to allow ATV riders access to all public right-of-ways for a six-month trial period had not resulted in a chorus of citizen complaints, voted to allow ATVs continued access, to be reviewed in October, after a full ATV season.

Hawley reported that he had received no complaints and that Police Chief Jeffrey Goss had received minimal complaints.

Upon receipt of two bids for the sale of a town-owned, tax-acquired parcel on Fourth Avenue, the council agreed to sell it to Arthur Melendy, who bid $9,100 for the property.

The council also approved extending the lease for the Before and After School program to use the old Head Start building for another year.

The council also took note that Betty Siegal is retiring as administrative assistant at the Mechanic Falls Sanitary District on March 27 after 30 years of service. Nick Konstantoulakis, director of the Sanitary District, invited the public to drop by to say goodbye.


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