New Ipswich selectmen approve electrical upgrades for town buildings

By JOSH LACAILLADE

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 04-05-2023 2:55 PM

Four municipal buildings in New Ipswich will be receiving electrical upgrades come 2024.

On Tuesday, selectmen voted 2-1 in favor of allocating $218,470 for electrical rewiring and new 60- to 80-watt generators for the town offices, the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the police and fire departments.

Approximately $110,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund will cover the cost of new generators at the police and fire departments. The cost for two new generators at the DPW and town office will be covered by the Highway Capital Reserve Fund and the General Government Building Capital Reserve Fund. 

During the meeting, officials expressed interest in using town funds to cover the cost of four new generators and avoid using additional taxpayer dollars. 

“You wouldn’t have to look for extra money because it’s money we already got,” said Director of Public Works Peter Goewey. 

Police Chief Michael Abel said one of the stressors the department feels is that “it’s a real struggle to work with less.”

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“If we keep minimizing our capabilities, we are just throwing a Band-Aid on it. The power generation has been an issue for a long time and these generators will allow these departments to work at full capacity,” he said.

Selectman Jason Somero argued that the town should invest short-term in new, lower-cost generators. 

“I’m interested in the bare bones,” he said. “I just want to be cost-efficient.”

According to Fire Chief Meredith Lund, the fire and police departments currently have portable generators. However, Lund said the the Fire Department’s emergency doors run on electricity, and in case of a power outage, the crew has to open the doors manually, which slows down the emergency response time tremendously. 

Following the meeting, Lund said new generators will massively improve the local department’s day-to-day operations and in case of an outage, new generators may even save lives.

“I think it’s long overdue,” said Lund. “I’m really happy [the board] decided to move forward and be progressive.”

According to Lund, the four new generators are expected to arrive and be installed by 2024.

In other news, the board voted 3-0 in favor of allocating $7,180 to reface the town church’s clock at 32 Main Street. According to Town Administrator Debbie Deaton, the town’s capital reserve funds will cover the cost of the project.

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