February 25, 2018
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Dexter seeks stimulus funds to burn wood

By Diana Bowley, BDN Staff

DEXTER, Maine — The town could save about $10,000 a year in fuel if it’s successful in obtaining an energy grant for the purchase of a wood pellet furnace for the town hall, according to a town official.

Town Manager David Pearson received Town Council approval on Thursday to apply for one of the Maine Forest Service’s grants from its Public Building Wood to Energy Program. Under the program, funded by $11.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, municipalities can apply for grants of up to $25,000 for standard projects or up to $750,000 for complex projects. The deadline for applications is Jan. 5.

The funds are to be used to convert public buildings to wood heat or a combination of wood and another fuel.

“We’re pretty excited about that,” Pearson said of the possibility of the grant, which funds up to 90 percent of the project costs. Consultant Mike McCormick is writing the grant application for the town.

Efficiency Maine suggested in its evaluation of the town hall that the town was burning “way too much oil,” Pearson said Monday. The town spent about $16,000 on oil last year, he said.

Pearson said a new pellet furnace is expected to cost about $70,000 compared with about $55,000 for a new oil furnace, but he said the town would save money on fuel in the long run. He said McCormick said the town could save about $10,000 a year in fuel by converting to wood pellets.

“If we could heat it with 30 tons of pellets instead of 4,500 gallons of oil, we’ll be in better shape,” he said.

The council also voted Thursday to use up to $16,000 to replace the water pump on the 1996 International firetruck. Pearson said the water pump was ruined when gas was sucked up into it. The funds will be taken from the equipment reserve account.

Approval was given to the Police Department to purchase a four-wheel-drive truck funded mostly by grants. The department has about $22,000 in grant funds for the purchase of a 2010 F150 truck for $26,000, Pearson noted. The remainder will be funded through the capital reserve account. The new truck may extend the life of the cruiser that was due to be replaced next year, he said.

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