Energy and capital improvements to municipal buildings, long-term energy savings, and reduction of carbon emissions, are the issues to be voted on at an outdoor, drive-in special town meeting Monday, Jan. 25 at the Snow Bowl.

The $2.3 million project aims to improve energy use by replacing outdated heating, cooling and air handling systems, sealing buildings from the elements and fixing structural deficiencies. The project contract with Siemens Industry Inc. guarantees significant energy savings, which are used to partially offset costs.

Camden residents participating in the outdoor meeting will vote by holding cards out of their vehicle windows.

Anyone speaking at the meeting, including voters with questions or comments, will be broadcast over FM radio station 88.3.

The drive-in town meeting is a work-around, created by state rules that remain in place as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Residents who are registered voters are to arrive no later than 5:30 p.m. Those who need to register to vote are to arrive by 5 p.m. The rain or snow date is Jan. 26.

Project costs and payments

The cash flow statement for the project shows a $2,823,563 cost for principal and interest over 17 years, at an interest rate of 2.043%.

Energy and building operation savings guaranteed over the same period by Siemens Industry total $1,017,618.

Camden's net annual contribution is shown as $105,000, totaling $1,785,000 over 17 years. Approximately $80,000 is for municipal building and Snow Bowl projects and $25,000 for the Camden Public Library building.

Warrant articles

Registered voters will decide on three articles on the warrant.

The first is to authorize a contract with Siemens Industry Inc. to upgrade multiple buildings, increase energy efficiency and reduce long-term energy demand and costs. The facilities include the Opera House, Camden Public Library, public safety, public works and wastewater buildings, and the Snow Bowl.

The second article is financing a $2,336,000 bond, over a 17-year period, at an interest rate of 2.5% or lower.

The third is to authorize the use of $200,000 from the unassigned or surplus fund to pay for upfront, initial costs.

There is a fourth, non-binding article, which asks if voters support the town of Camden adopting a list of goals and objectives laid out in the Maine Climate Council’s Report.

Building projects

Existing lighting in all of the buildings will be retrofit with LED technology. Specific work at each building is as follows:

Camden Opera House: basement moisture membrane, roof replacement, wi-fi programmable thermostats, O2 Prime air-handling system

Camden Public Library: building envelope air-sealing, attic insulation improvements, building automation system upgrade and energy savings controls, boiler replacement and fuel switch, oil tank removal and replaced with new propane tank, O2 prime air-handling system

Camden Public Safety Building: new heat pumps

Camden Public Works: building envelop air sealing, office heat pump

Camden Snow Bowl: LED lighting retrofit for the lodge, existing ski trails and parking lot; building envelope air sealing; front window replacement; geothermal heating and cooling system.

Wastewater plant: LED retrofit for the garage building

Maine Climate Council’s Report and Recommendations

The non-binding article states that the town of Camden recognizes "the diverse challenges facing the region as a result of climate change, as well as the ambitious emissions reduction goals set by the state of Maine."

The article references new Maine laws to meet these goals and establishment of the Climate Council to develop Maine's emissions reduction plan..

The town of Camden is committed to working with the state to reduce emissions, according to the statement, and agrees with other goals in the Council's report. These include creating economic opportunity related to climate and energy transitions, preparing for impacts of climate change, and ensuring communities and citizens often left behind benefit from climate solutions by having access to opportunities and protection from threats.