What if you could upgrade your home to save more money than it would cost?
The City of Brazil has the opportunity -- even the federal mandate -- to do just that, but it will come at a high cost.
Energy Systems Group (ESG) of Indianapolis has given the city council a proposed list of things that can be done at city-owned properties to save money on energy and meet federal guidelines for homeland security. The cost, if all the proposals are followed, will be $1.9 million.
But, "savings will be greater than the cost of the project," Douglas K. Tischbein told the city council Tuesday night.
However, Mayor Tom Arthur isn't sure the whole project will be possible.
"There are things I would like to do, but I don't think we can do them all right now," Arthur said after the meeting.
So, what would the city taxpayers get for their nearly $2 million?
Tischbein said the study, began in January and concluded July 28, includes:
- replacing City Hall air conditioner
- replacing Fire Department heating and air conditioning
- Water Department "windows and doors are not very energy efficient," Tischbein said. The central air conditioner and furnace need to be replaced. Lighting needs to be improved.
- Well fields -- controls need to be upgraded, the security fence needs to be replaced with a higher fence, topped with barbed wire
- Wastewater Department -- The aeration line needs to be replaced, the sludge holding tank mixer is not operational, the three lift station pump systems need to be replaced and a taller security fence needs to be built.
The city spent 18 months replacing and then repairing the submersible motor that stirs the sludge in the holding tank, Arthur said. At least $20,000 was spent and it still doesn't work. The new motor would set outside the tank and, hopefully, be more durable.
"Wastewater is probably the most important (improvement) of this whole project," Arthur told the council.
After the meeting, Arthur was asked how the project would be funded. Those details are yet to be worked out, he answered.
But a big benefit of hiring a firm like ESG is that the city can proactively maintain and improve its equipment instead of "being hit with a big bill" later, City Attorney Joe Trout told the council.
Meanwhile, no contracts have been signed to begin any work, but ESG was approved as the qualified provider for the needed services (no other company provided a proposal, Arthur said) and the council authorized Arthur to enter into final negotiations and agreement to start construction.
Both matters were approved by the council unanimously, 5-0.
Very few questions were asked by council members during Tischbein's presentation.
Councilman Ann Bradshaw asked about the potential loss of two or three jobs due to automation of systems in the Wastewater Department.
Arthur responded to her concerns by saying no decision had been made concerning those jobs.
"We would try to find jobs in the city, but we're a long way from that point," Arthur said.