Elizabethtown City Council members were divided Monday afternoon when it came to whether to accept a bid from Harshaw Trane for direct digital controls of its HVAC systems at the Elizabethtown Police Department, the State Theater and the wastewater treatment plant.
With the council vote 3-3, Mayor Jeff Gregory voted in favor of the $114,419 bid.
Council members at the Aug. 5 meeting postponed voting on the municipal order. The delay was to allow city staff time to gather data on potential cost savings of the digital controls and what the payback period would be. Payback, for all three facilities together, is estimated at eight to nine years.
At Monday’s meeting, Council members Marty Fulkerson and Terry Shipp expressed concern about potential annual maintenance/license fees.
Facilities Management Director Scott Reynolds said as far as he knew, there was no annual cost the city would have to pay and said he would ask to make sure.
Shipp also suggested taking the Elizabethtown Police Department out of the scenario for now and just approving digital controls for the State Theater and the wastewater treatment plant.
“Can we not install the systems there and see how they operate, see how they run and answer some of these questions and come back six months from now or 12 months from now and get this facility on board?” he asked.
Reynolds said, yes.
“But that is a years worth of savings that you are missing,” Reynolds added, noting the controls already are in place at city hall and the new park office at Freeman Lake.
Reynolds also was questioned about who will have control of the digital controls. He said they would work with departments and each individual person to make sure they are setting the temperature at a comfortable level.
Reynolds also was asked if he had reached out to neighbors who already have Harshaw Trane digital controls.
“I have over a 20-year history with Harshaw Trane and their capabilities. I feel very comfortable with coming to you all and saying that is who we need to be with,” he said.
Shipp said he thinks there are still a lot of questions at this point.
Shipp, Fulkerson and Councilwoman Cindy Walker voted against accepting the bid. Council members Tony Bishop, Matt Deneen and Virgil Willoughby voted in favor.
Also on Monday, council members postponed indefinitely the Meadow Lane sidewalk improvement project to allow time to gather more information on the project.