SAD 4 voters easily approve pellet boiler bond

By Mike Lange
Staff writer

    GUILFORD — Residents of Abbot, Cambridge, Guilford, Parkman, Sangerville and Wellington approved a $680,000 bond issue to allow School Administrative District 4 to purchase pellet boilers for its two school buildings.

    The measure passed in Abbot, 19-12; Cambridge, 9-6; Guilford, 40-6; Sangerville, 36-12 and Wellington, 7-4. Parkman voted it down, 19-10.
    The district has already been approved for $406,000 in Quality School Construction Bond funds. This is a federal program designed to allow schools to borrow money at zero — or near zero — interest. The remainder of the project will be funded through traditional municipal lending sources, and the bond would be paid back over a 12-year period starting in 2015.
    Norris A. Preble Inc. of Madison has been awarded the bid for the project and plans to start work on Monday, July 8.
    According to a press release from the SAD 4 superintendent’s office, the project consists of:
• Installation of pellet boilers and pellet storage silos at Piscataquis Community Secondary School and Piscataquis Community Elementary School;
• Relocating one of the two high-efficiency 2006 Buderus oil-fired boilers from PCSS to PCES; and
• Removing the two H.B. Smith boilers that have been heating PCES since it was built in 1994.
    The end result will be one pellet boiler and one high-efficiency oil-fired boiler for each building. The pellet boilers will heat both buildings about 90 percent of the time. On the coldest days and during the “shoulder” season, the oil-fired boilers will kick in to provide additional heating capacity.
    Based on current oil prices, the project would pay for itself in eight years, according to Superintendent Paul Stearns.
    SAD 4 budgets for 55,000 gallons of fuel at $3.25 per gallon or $178,750. The wood pellet equivalent is around 460 tons at $180 per ton or $82,800.
    Stearns also pointed out that interest rates are at an all-time low, making the investment more attractive over time. Also, the ACT boilers to be installed at the schools are made in the U.S.A. and uses readily-available parts and controls.

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