Trustees to seek $5 million bond or loan
After an outpouring of concern from the towns and public at their last meeting, the Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor CSD trustees authorized the issuance of $5 million in general obligation bonds Feb. 6. Superintendent Keith Laser explained this action would enable the CSD to shop around for the best deal, be it in bonds or in loans, while working toward the late February deadline for Maine Bond Bank's application.
Trustees also authorized three more spending items: $3,905 to contract Colby Company for an independent engineering review of Honeywell's scope of work, $18,900 to contract Lewis and Malm for a complete list and cost analysis of projects in both schools, and $125,000 to contract Honeywell for engineering work to come before the larger heating and ventilation work at Boothbay Region Elementary School.
“I don't want to speak for everybody in the room, but as long as you're going to move forward with the review … I don't see any harm in voting for the bond tonight,” said Boothbay Selectman Dale Harmon.
However, Colby Company's review will take 21 working days to complete which drew some concern from the trustees that they will miss the Maine Bond Bank application deadline and a better interest rate. Chair Richard Hallinan said if that did happen and the trustees did not seek an alternative, they would be at the mercy of the Bank’s fall rates.
Laser reminded the trustees and the public, this is what the sense of urgency has been all about – making the deadline for what is likely the best opportunity for funding. To address concerns in the last meeting, the superintendent’s office published a question and answer document, which includes an amortization table for 3.6 percent interest over 20 years. The latest inquiries for interest rates came back from Camden National Bank, First Union Bank and Maine Bond Bank at 4.6, 3.9 and 3.36 percent respectively, Laser said.
“Again, reading the tea leaves and talking to different bank managers, these rates are only going up,” said Laser. “… But we will go out, we'll put out (a request for an update) and we'll get everybody's best guess at this thing. I know the discussion last time was pretty much focused on the Maine Bond Bank, but talking to folks, I believe the best route is to see who gives us the best rate.”
Facilities and Transportation Director Dave Benner said an estimate for cleaning the ductwork at BRES – $1 per square foot or $90,000 – was put in the draft for the proposed 2019-2020 fiscal year budget. Benner has since received a quote from Steamatic of Greater Portland with an estimate at $47,000.
With a likely 30 percent increase in the next fiscal year’s budget, trustees noted this makes it easier to justify spending they were not certain could be postponed, like new kitchen equipment the schools desperately need.
The trustees settled on a tentative date for a joint trustees/school committee workshop on Thursday, Feb. 28. The date will be discussed at the next school committee meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
The next trustees meeting will be at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 6 in the BRHS library.