Summerside City Council is still grappling with the question of whether or not to hire Honeywell to perform a major energy efficiency project.
The $3.6 million undertaking is a follow up component to a year-long energy audit Honeywell was hired to conduct for the city.
The company identified various points of energy saving potential and made a proposal to the city that would see it do the work.
Under the agreement, Honeywell would guarantee its savings projections of $391,000 in annual savings for the city, which is projecting a 12-year payback on a loan to finance the project.
The proposal came up again at Tuesday night’s committee of council meeting, where councillors voted to move it along to the full regular monthly meeting on Jan. 15 for a final decision.
Whether it will indeed be passed at that meeting is not a certainty. Council has been pondering the contentious project since September, 2017, asking staff on a few occasions to go back and clarify various points or to find more information.
Some councillors don’t see the need for a partnership with Honeywell.
In fact, the reason the project was most recently sent back to staff is because council wanted a cost and savings analysis of partnering with Honeywell versus using city staff and regular capital improvements.
Staff reported that if the city were to do the work in-house, it would cost more in some areas of the project, less in others and ultimately work out to be roughly the same as hiring Honeywell, about $3.65 million.
Given the similarity in prices, staff recommended the city finance a loan and partner with Honeywell.
They noted the guaranteed return the company has offered, the fact that the work, much of which involves replacing street lights with LEDs, will get done a decade earlier than previously scheduled and benefiting from the company’s expertise.
Deputy Mayor Frank Costa voiced his support for taking the Honeywell option.
“I see also the value of the relationship with this company,” said Costa.
“Whether it’s Honeywell or Samsung, if we start these relationships it’s only then that we’re going to see what more benefit that these companies will provide the city. We have a limited staffing resource and, to me, this contract compliments what our staff are trying to do on behalf of the city. So I see this as a win for us.”
But Coun. Tyler Desroches disagreed
“I’m not opposed to the project … I am opposed to how we’re (potentially) going about it and lumping in these projects staff already said they would never do without the cash cow of the streetlight (savings) tied to it,” said Desroches.