June 20, 2018
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Deer Isle-Stonington meeting to address funding for boiler

By Rich Hewitt, BDN Staff

DEER ISLE, Maine — The Deer Isle-Stonington Community School District will hold a special budget meeting Wednesday to allocate $90,000 for the replacement of a boiler at the high school.

The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at the high school.

Both articles on the meeting warrant ask voters to authorize the use of existing funds to purchase and install a new boiler system at the high school, according to Superintendent Robert Webster.

The first article seeks approval to spend $32,483 from the boiler reserve account established last spring at the annual budget meeting. The second article asks for approval to spend $67,517 from the unanticipated state subsidy. The district received additional subsidy when the Legislature delayed until 2010 the penalties for failing to consolidate. Voters in Deer Isle and Stonington rejected the proposed consolidation plan for a nine-town island-peninsula district.

According to Webster, the school committee already planned to replace the system next summer, but learned during the annual maintenance inspection that it needed repairs.

“We were told that it would cost between $10,000 and $14,000 to repair the old system in order to have it back on line for the coming heating season,” Webster said Monday. “The committee decided to go forward with the project, since we had the funds available and it would not require an increase in the tax assessment.”

The project will replace the existing large and inefficient boiler with a “lead-lag” system that uses two boilers — one that provides 60 percent of the building’s needs, and the other to provide the remaining 40 percent. In combination with building improvements made over the past several years, including new windows and insulation, the committee expects to cut heating costs at the high school.

“There should be substantial savings on the cost of heating that building,” Webster said.

As part of the project, the district also will install an on-demand hot water system for domestic hot water. In the past, the domestic hot water was provided through the boiler, which made sense in the winter, Webster said. But in order to have hot water in the summer, they still had to run the boiler.

If voters approve the expenditure of funds for the new boiler, it will have to be approved a second time at a budget validation vote scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 22. The polls will be open in both towns from 1 to 5 p.m.

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