EAST LYME — The Board of Selectmen are calling for an October 2 town meeting for voters to approve appropriations of $43,225 to replace a malfunctioning part of Town Hall’s heating system, $20,311 for emergency preparation laptops, and $15,742 for public works equipment.
State grant moneys and proceeds from the sale of town vehicles will fund the appropriations in lieu of additional taxes.
At Wednesday’s board of selectmen meeting, First Selectman Mark Nickerson said that the building automation system controlling Town Hall’s heating, cooling and ventilation is malfunctioning, putting staff and records at risk as the colder months approach.
“We’re having a dire problem with humidity in this building,” Nickerson said. “We keep our records in this building. Our clerk’s office has been at dangerously high levels of humidity, and we’ve had to blast the air conditioning to a point of discomfort to those who work in them.”
Public Works Director Joe Bragaw, in an email describing the issue to the selectmen, wrote that town officials had planned to request a replacement for the system in next year’s 2020-21 town budget, but should expedite the purchase.
Bragaw said he had already purchased about $1,000 worth of dehumidifiers to address the problem in the short term but that it was important to fix the system before winter heating begins, likely in late October.
Bragaw and town Director of Finance Anna M. Johnson said that they had identified about $51,000 in savings in Local Capital Improvement Program (LoCIP) grants from the state. These funds had been earmarked for East Lyme Community Center’s cooling tower two years ago, and could be spent on the appropriations, if voters approve.
“They key is we’re doing this with state money, not town money,” Nickerson said. “We’ve been smartly tucking away our money from the state to use it for these projects without blowing up our budget.”
Voters will also decide whether to approve an additional $20,311 for laptops and computer equipment with software for disaster preparedness.
Those funds would be reimbursed by a Nuclear Safety Emergency Preparedness Fund grant administered by the state, and disbursed to the town in July 2019.
Voter will also vote on whether to approve an additional $15,742 for a lift system for a vehicle maintenance truck, a snow box, and a 75-ton pneumatic shop press used to fabricate parts. Those purchases would be funded by the sale of town vehicles.
At an earlier September 4 meeting of the board of selectmen, Bragard advised the selectmen that the current lift was showing signs of mechanical disrepair, the current snow box was too large to use in a standard parking lot, and the shop press was antiquated and unsafe.
The Special Town Meeting is scheduled for East Lyme Town Hall’s upper meeting room at 7 p.m. on October 2.