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Massena recreation officials considering energy-saving proposal

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MASSENA — Massena recreation officials are considering a proposal to replace the current lighting in the Massena Arena with energy-efficient lighting.

Although it would save money in the long run, the new lighting comes with an initial price tag of $51,340.

The proposal was presented Tuesday to members of the Massena Joint Recreation Commission by Massena Electric Department Deputy Superintendent Dale F. Raymo and Treasurer Jeffrey M. Dobbins.

Mr. Raymo and Mr. Dobbins emphasized it would not be an MED project, but rather one that would be worked out between the Massena Recreation Department and a contractor who had responded to a request for proposal.

MED, they said, had simply acted as a conduit in soliciting proposals from contractors who might be interested in the project.

“It is not an MED project. MED steered it to where it is,” Mr. Raymo said, telling Recreation Commission members that if they elected to move forward, they would deal directly with the contractor to set up the schedule.

He said that one of MED’s roles is to offer a series of energy-efficiency programs for customers, both residential and commercial, with an incentive for those who move forward with an energy savings plan.

Mr. Dobbins said that, during their discussions, the lighting at the Massena Arena was brought up, and they wondered if there was something MED could do to help lower that cost. They worked with Beardsley Design Associates to send out a request for proposal. Three firms responded to RFP.

“They actually evaluated the entire building,” from a meeting room near the main office to the other end of the ice rink, according to the treasurer.

Mr. Dobbins and Mr. Raymo said recreation officials might want to consider the bid from SmartWatt Energy, which is based out of Ballston Lake. Mr. Dobbins said the company works with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Their bid was $51,340, while the highest bid was $171,000 from Dow Electric.

SmartWatt Energy officials said that based on their evaluation, they could provide the Recreation Commission with an annual energy savings of $4,033, while Dow Electric officials said theirs would be $10,066.

The Recreation Commission would receive MED credit of $20,165 if recreation officials moved forward with the SmartWatt Energy proposal.

“If you did the whole project, we would place the whole $20,000 credit on your bill next spring,” Mr. Dobbins said.

A third company, O’Connell Electric, bid $145,639 and said their anticipated annual energy savings was $2,222.

The net cost for the Recreation Commission, after they received a credit from MED, would be $31,175 if they went with SmartWatt Energy, $134,529 if they went with O’Connell Electric and $120,670 if they went with Dow Electric.

Recreation Commission Chairman David M. MacLennan wondered if the entire project would need to be done in one shot or if it could be done piecemeal to spread the initial cost out.

Mr. Raymo said he would need to talk with the contractor.

“I don’t know if they’ll hold their prices for lighting for other parts of the arena,” he said.

Before making a decision, recreation officials want to know if SmartWatt has worked with other rinks and if the lighting they provided would soon be obsolete with the advent of new technology.

Board member George Hammill asked, if they moved forward with the project, what would happen if the projected savings did not come to fruition.

“They based it on their calculations,” Mr. Raymo said.

Recreation officials must still discuss the proposal with town and village officials. Trustee Albert N. Nicola, the town’s liaison to the Recreation Commission, said he would discuss it with board members during their meeting next week. Trustee Albert “Herb” Deshaies, the village’s liaison, said he would like MED officials to talk about the project with the village board when they also meet next week.

“The decision doesn’t have to be made until the end of December,” Mr. Raymo said.

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