PLAINVILLE - The Plainville Town Council voted Monday to pursue a $200,000 grant through Eversource’s Energy Opportunities Program to replace a failed boiler at the Middle School of Plainville.
The council had previously approved $580,000 of unassigned fund balance to replace the boiler. The school is currently operating on a backup boiler of around the same age. Were this to fail in winter, School Superintendent Maureen Brummett said, she would have been forced to close the school until the issue was resolved.
Before the vote, Dan Varrone, president of Power & Process Inc. of Southington, was brought in to share his expertise.
“These boilers have about a 30-year maximum life expectancy,” he said. “The ones we have now are 26 to 27 years old and one has already undergone a catastrophic failure. If replaced, you are looking at significant savings due to increased efficiency.”
Board of Education Chairwoman Andrea Saunders said that it will take about a month to replace the boiler.
During announcements and reports, councilor Dan Carrier said that as of his latest updates from the state Capitol, both the Democratic and Republican proposed state budgets contained funding for renovations at Wheeler Elementary School previously approved by the council.
“As long as we have a budget it looks like this project is going forward,” he said.
Town Manager Robert E. Lee added that both proposed budgets have the project listed as a priority.
Saunders also discussed revisions to the school administrators; contract.
“We met in August with union administration,” she said. “We agreed to a salary increase the next three years, 2.16 percent next year, 1.55 percent the next year and then 1.5 percent. We have also agreed to pay teachers $50 per month for cell phone use related to school districts business.”
During public comment, a group of Pierce Street and Perron Road residents continued to speak against the proposed closing of the “Plainville gap” in the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.
Katherine Labella said that in Southington, property had been vandalized in 2011 after the opening of a new section of the Linear Trail there.
“Do you really think that the Rails to Trails path will be developed at no cost to the town or at no cost to the taxpayer?” she asked. “What about the cost of increased patrols to neighborhoods or additional safety measures? What about the cost of continuous removal of graffiti while the council has to deal with the issue? What about the cost of businesses leaving town if forced to continuously remove graffiti?”
Labella argued that historic brick buildings on Pierce Street could be targeted.
Other residents spoke to concerns including a loss of privacy.
The town is holding a meeting about the trail Wesnesday starting at 6 p.m. at Plainville High School.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.