PITTSFIELD, Maine — Councilors Tuesday night praised the work of Councilor Louise Baker, former Councilor Michael Cianchette, and several town employees as they accepted a $50,000 Maine Services Grant to erect a wind turbine.
“We’re ahead of the curve on this,” Mayor Tim Nichols said. Pittsfield is the first town in central Maine to install a municipal wind turbine.
The Bergey 10-kilowatt wind turbine will be erected at the town’s transfer and recycling center by September. The town’s match for the project will be $12,551.
Since the transfer station and recycling center is the highest electricity user of all town departments, Nichols said, the project will pay for itself “in no time at all.”
Nichols said it was important for Pittsfield to continue as a leader in thinking of alternative energy as a permanent part of town operations.
Ruth also informed the council that a property and burned-out home on Somerset Avenue would be auctioned off at noon April 22.
Ruth said it was “a very strange situation” since the town does not own the property but because of back taxes owed and a failed payment arrangement with the owners, the town will receive all profits from the sale. The family that was living in the home has left the area.
She said the buyer would be responsible for demolishing the remnants of the burned-out home. “This is a desirable double lot, right in the center of town,” she said.
If there is no successful bidder, Ruth said, the town will end up as the owner. Also, the town insured all of its tax-acquired properties for $14 annually and, as a result, recently received $14,000 from the insurance provider when the house on the Somerset Avenue property burned. The money has been placed in an escrow ac-count, Ruth said.
In other business, the council:
— Adopted a new plan for the industrial park expansion and tax increment financing district.
— Authorized the expenditure of $10,000 for engineering for the installation of a backup water pump at the town’s water treatment facility. This project was funded through the Maine Drinking Water Program’s stimulus funding.
— Approved $8,000 in additional site design costs to Kleinschmidt Associates for the Pittsfield Public Library expansion. Ruth said Cianbro Cos. will be the construction manager and will supply the bid specification, as the company’s donation to the project. Bid packages will go out in April, bids will be approved in May and construction should begin June 2, Ruth said.
— Approved two change orders for ongoing roof rehabilitation work at the Pittsfield Community Theatre. Councilor Gary Jordan expressed his disappointment that $1,150 in additional work by the contractor was required because the engineering firm’s plans were incorrect.
— Approved a continuation of the curbside recycling pickup agreement with the town of Palmyra at $16,600.