Fearing the record high heating oil prices of last winter, Enfield and Howland officials earlier this year did what many residents did: They locked in their oil rates in hope of avoiding more runaway oil prices.
That’s why the Boards of Selectmen in both towns have agreed to close their town offices through winter on Fridays, even though prices have swooned recently, but stay open longer Monday through Thursday. Enfield’s altered business hours begin Dec. 1; Howland’s already have started, selectmen said.
“Our [town office] doesn’t lack anything. It’s in good shape,” Enfield Selectman Roland Schorey said Saturday. “It doesn’t lack for insulation or anything like that. We want to see if we can save something.”
Howland Selectmen Joseph Dunn and Leeman King agreed to the idea with some misgivings.
“It is supposed to save heat and fuel, but I don’t know if it’s going to do it. Time will tell,” Dunn said, “and it’s supposed to make it more convenient for taxpayers to get into the office.
“One of the complaints was that they could never get in to register vehicles after hours, after 4 o’clock,” he added. “Now they will be able to.”
Under the new hours, the Howland office is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays, Dunn said.
“This is more to save oil, and I don’t think it saves oil,” King said. “I told them that if they put a thermostat with a timer on it, they would save more money.”
Enfield’s office is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Dunn said he wished Howland town workers were more energy-conscious. The town office building is old, he said, but the town has invested more than $60,000 in it since the 1980s to keep it modern. Efforts to share space with the U.S. Post Office branch in Howland fell through several years ago.
“If we go into another building, it’s easily $250,000,” Dunn said. “That’s a lot of money for a town of our size.”