UNION — Town Manager Jay Feyler confirmed in a Tuesday, Jan. 24 email that the additional insurance costs for the closed Thompson Community Center will be a little more than $400 per year.

Feyler confirmed this was significantly less than was spent to heat the building.

The Union Select Board voted in December, 2022 to terminate the remaining leases at the Thompson Community Center as of Jan. 31, then winterize and close the building for the time being.

Board members who voted for the closure cited both the cost to heat the building and the concerns from the Office of the State Fire Marshal as their motivation.

The cost of oil to heat the Thompson Community Center was $2,100 for the week of Sunday, Jan. 15 to Saturday, Jan. 21, Feyler said.

“On average, we use 500 gallons a week,” Feyler said. “More when it’s cold and windy.”

When reached for clarification on the issues at the TCC, representatives of the Office of the State Fire Marshal sent emails to the town at the start of January which appear to indicate the building can no longer be occupied legally.

Select Board Chair Adam Fuller has said that is how he interprets these emails.

This change in occupancy allowance came after the passage of a November 2022 referendum which town legal council said prohibits any work on the community center unless it is an emergency.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal identified three violations to Maine’s Life Safety Code which had not yet been addressed in the Thompson Community Center. Work was needed on the fire alarm system, the boiler room and the electrical system, they said.

According to Maine’s Life Safety Code, chapter four, a building with violations cannot be occupied unless there is an approved plan of correction. With the referendum in place prohibiting work on the building, there is no longer a plan in place.

The next meeting of the Union Select Board is Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. in the William Pullen meeting room.