By Ethan Weinstein
On Dec. 6 at 7 p.m., Plymouth will hold a special town meeting to discuss a proposed $950,000 renovation to the town office and garage. A vote to approve that renovation will be held by Australian ballot the following day.
Select Board member Rick Kaminsky said that if the Dec. 6 vote passes, the town will pay for the renovations without raising taxes. “The town has a fund of surplus monies that is unallocated,” he said. “We can move forward without any tax increases, any bonds.”
The Plymouth Select Board hired Maclay Architects of Waitsfield to perform an energy analysis of the current municipal office and garage. In August, Maclay provided four options for possible renovations, all of which would create net zero emissions. The energy analysis revealed that the current Plymouth town office and its 35 year old boiler and furnaces “use about twice as much heating fuel as similar buildings in the Northeast.”
Of the four building options proposed by Maclay, one would have kept the existing building but added solar; two would have created all electric, net zero ready buildings by installing either air source heat pumps or air to water heat pumps; and the fourth option, which the Select Board chose to vote on, proposes to heat the town garage with propane and the town office with air-to-source heat pumps, while also installing solar to offset electricity used.
The nearly $1 million price tag includes $400,000 in deferred maintenance projects.
In addition to the current building causing “a huge waste of energy,” Kaminski cited “extensive roof leaks in winter” as one of the primary reasons for the renovation.