But the money paid to Ameresco will pay off in the long run when water meters and other equipment runs more efficiently, city officials say.
“A lot of our water meters are old and some of them don't work at all,” Mayor Jim Kalb.
Water rates are not supposed to increase. However, those who may not be paying the proper amount will do so once new meters are installed. That would bring the city additional revenue.
Ameresco will also oversee the installation of LED traffic lights which are more efficient.
“It's really unbelievable how much money we'll save on the traffic lights,” Kalb said.
City Council is expected to pass an ordinance approving the plan in the next few weeks. Kalb said contractors would immediately begin the infrastructure improvements under Ameresco's supervision.
The city will borrow the money for the project through low-interest rates provided by Ohio House Bill 300, which deals with energy conservation and infrastructure improvements.
Besides the improvements to the traffic lights and water meters, the program will focus on heating and air conditioning systems in city buildings, windows in some buildings and improvements to the waste water treatment plant.
“Those are things that we couldn't afford to go out and do,” Kalb said. “So I think it's a good thing for the city.”
The majority of the money, or $5,694,081, will go toward replacing all the water meters in the city.
The heating and air conditioning replacement will be $119,421, the windows $331,270, the traffic lights $387,157 and the water treatment work $893,556.
“Almost the entire amount will be realized from the savings from the work that's being done,” Kalb said. “It's a pretty good deal. It's not going to be any additional cost to the taxpayer.”
The city would have 10 years to pay the money back.
The Ameresco project is not related to the construction of a new filtering system at the water treatment plant.
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.