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Chelsea Courthouse to Get New Boiler

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Chelsea — The assistant judges in Orange County will hold a public meeting next week to discuss replacing the aging oil-fueled boiler in the historic county courthouse with a more environmentally friendly heating system.

Assistant Judge Vickie Weiss said the existing 20-year-old boiler that heats the Orange County Courthouse is on its last legs, and the meeting will let the judges gauge support for the improvement project.

“Furnaces have a life expectancy,” Weiss said. “And we are told that it is at the end of its life.”

The judges, who set the county budget, have done preliminary work with a Post Mills-based contractor and said the estimate of installing a wood-pellet burning system would be about $100,000.

They await an estimate on what it would cost to replace the courthouse heating system — which dates to 1847 — with another oil-fueled boiler.

Though Weiss was confident that the wood-pellet burning system would cost more than a traditional furnace, she said there are rewards when switching to a renewable heating source.

The county wouldn’t have to deal with unpredictable oil prices in the harsh winter months, and would be burning cleaner materials, she said.

“We are both very cautious of energy issues,” Weiss said.

The purchase of a new heating system would be funded through the capital improvement line item in the county budget, which is comprised of money from taxpayers in each of the county’s 17 towns, Weiss said. Though discussions will start this year, the installation of the new system wouldn’t take place until 2017.

“That gives us time to set aside money,” Weiss said of herself and Assistant Judge Joyce McKeeman.

County residents don’t approve the budget, but are invited to preliminary budget hearings. The budget cycle starts on Feb. 1 and runs through Jan. 31.

The public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on May 20 at the Chelsea courthouse.

Dynamic Integrations President Chris Hebb will be at the meeting to explain the wood-pellet heating conversion project he has proposed for the courthouse. Other options likely will be presented.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-7273248.




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