To the Voters of Plymouth,
I support the bond acquisition and full weatherization project of our municipal building. What began as a project to repair a leaky roof and upgrade its insulation evolved into a well thought out process to look at the building as a whole. Our municipal building itself has good bones and meets the needs of our highway, administrative, and fire departments.
Our building consumes a lot of energy, especially compared with other Vermont municipal buildings, which was discovered after an energy audit from Two Rivers Ottauqueechee. This is due in part to design and accumulated deferred maintenance. Daylight is visible in sections of overhead doors, some steel entry doors are rotted, leaky windows, and outdated heating systems all contribute to this. The lack of roof overhangs in our climate is contributing to the degradation of the siding.
A goal of the project is to be sure that we are balancing long-term operating cost with capital investment. Inflation has increased the initial cost of the project substantially; however, heating fuels have also risen accordingly. The bond, if approved, will increase our town’s annual expenses by approximately $70,000 per year but we expect to achieve a significant reduction in annual energy costs. I think we can also eliminate most of the $25,000 annual appropriation to the building reserve for at least the next 20 years.
The project did not start as a “green” or “renewable” project, but it has many of those attributes. It has the potential to be “net-zero” reducing the town’s carbon emissions if we choose to employ enough renewable energy to meet the buildings energy demands. I’ve seen how these investments have proven worthwhile, locking in at a fixed electricity cost for 20 years or more.
The project will also improve building occupant comfort, potentially improving employee retention and recruitment. The timing of the project is opportune, Selectboard member Rick Kaminski is serving as the Town’s Project Manager, with over 45 years of experience in commercial construction, and he’s generously worked to develop this project and will see it through to completion.
Whether your priority is operating expense reduction, carbon emissions, employee retention, or pride in our town, if completed we’ll have an essentially new building requiring very little work for years to come, and I hope you’ll join us in approving the bond and supporting the project.
Plymouth Selectboard Member