EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — The town office is newly renovated, most recently by a $127,000 makeover of its adjoining auditorium, but the 24-year-old boiler heating the building is just about dead, officials said Wednesday.
A soot exhaust tube venting the Cleaver-Brooks oil burner sprang a new leak this past weekend. It has since been repaired but has been patched so many times already that more patching won’t work, town Administrative Assistant Shirley Tapley said.
“It’s a pretty expensive job, I think,” Tapley said. “They have the boiler running now, but it could quit at any point. It’s a goner.”
The town is seeking bids to replace the boiler with a new oil-burning system or systems that will heat the town office, adjoining library and American Legion space. The bid period will close at 3 p.m. Dec. 1. The Board of Selectmen will possibly approve the bids at 4:30 p.m. that day, Chairman Mark Scally said.
The town has about $26,000 in its renovations account that could go toward the new boiler. The selectmen will call a special town meeting if more money is needed, Scally said.
Several oil-burning heating system suppliers, including Bob Moscone, whose Moscone Bantam Boiler LLC models are sold in his Millinocket shop, already have visited the office to review the building’s needs, Tapley said. She encouraged prospective bidders to telephone her at 746-3376 and to visit the office.
If the burner fails before the installation of a new system, the town would likely buy space heaters or consider another stopgap to keep the office open, Scally said.
“We knew we would have to replace the boiler eventually,” Scally said Wednesday. “The only upside is that who knows? Maybe the newer one will be more efficient.”
The town burned 5,432 gallons of heating oil from Oct. 1, 2007, to May 2008, Tapley and Scally said, and spends about $16,000 on heating oil for the building annually.
Programmable thermostats and other heat-saving devices were part of the renovations. Tapley said she hopes to get permission to have the building and library reinsulated next year, but that would cost at least $5,000.
“Long term it’s a good idea, but right now, with the boiler replacement, I am not sure it’s a good idea,” she said.