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HVAC bids will be discussed Monday in Dixon

$35,000 difference between proposals

DIXON – A city commissioner argues that a bid coming in at $35,000 higher than an alternative will result in more energy savings for the city.

The mayor and three other commissioners say, “Prove it.”

The City Council is expected to vote Monday on a 20-year heating, ventilation and air conditioning agreement to upgrade City Hall with GRP Mechanical from Bethalto.

Two bids were placed on file last week for public review: one for $317,638 with a control system in place for thermostats, and another for $282,638 with simple programmable thermostats.

Both projects would install new insulation on the City Hall roof and replace two outdated boilers, among other work.

Commissioner of Public Property Colleen Brechon is in favor of the more costly bid because, she said, it is the more efficient of the two.

The contractor estimates at least $4,715 a year in savings with that system, which would allow thermostats to be locked at a certain temperature. That would ensure they are not misused or working unnecessarily when City Hall is closed, Brechon said.

Also, the system can be controlled or monitored by personnel from a computer away from the office.

“It is the best, most responsible choice for me, and the most environmentally responsible,” Brechon said. “I don’t know how much more savings can come from this, but if you do the math, we’ll recoup the money in 8 years.”

That might be the case, but the mayor and other commissioners argue that most of the $4,715 in annual savings would come from the replacement of outdated equipment, not necessarily the result of different thermostats.

They want to see something more concrete that shows controlling thermostats would be worth the extra $35,000.

No figure was given in the company’s bid proposals or by Brechon on the potential difference in energy savings between the two bids.

“Thirty-five thousand dollars is quite a difference,” Commissioner Jeff Kuhn said in a phone interview Friday, after talking to several department heads.

“I’m interested in our discussion Monday, but [Brechon] is going to have to prove to me that this is something that really needs to be done, because we don’t necessarily need something that elaborate.”

The council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 121 W. Second St., on the second floor in the Council Chambers.

Still, Kuhn, like Mayor Jim Burke and Commissioner Dennis Considine, said he will bring an open mind to Monday’s meeting but will need to be persuaded away from the lower bid.

That same system is at least partially in place at the Public, Health and Safety Building and has not shown significant efficiency, Considine said.

“There are pros and cons,” Considine said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I’m leaning more toward the conservative figure, but I have until Monday to make my decision.”

During council meetings, Finance Commissioner David Blackburn also has expressed concern about the higher bid.

The item could get tabled if the City Council does not feel it’s ready to make a decision, said Police Chief Danny Langloss, special assistant to the City Council.

There is an urgency, however, to take a vote so the project can be started as soon as possible, Brechon said.

The city’s utility bills are paid for by a franchise fee to the city’s utility users, Brechon said. That fee is less than a dollar, she said, and significant savings are not likely to show up on those bills either way.

In other items, the City Council will conduct a work session to discuss the recruitment and hiring process of a city administrator and decide whether to establish a deputy fire chief position as was discussed at the Aug. 5 meeting.

A job description has been approved for the administrator, and the city is advertising the position. Applications are due Sept. 9.

To attend

The Dixon City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 121 W. Second St., on the second floor in the Council Chambers.

For an agenda for this meeting, minutes from past meetings, and more information, go to www.discoverdixon.org or call 815-288-1485.

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