SHIRLEY -- With a performance contract in the pipeline to make town buildings -- namely, Town Offices, the library, police station, DPW, Senior Center and War Memorial Building -- more energy efficient, selectmen Monday night heard one more time from the Energy Committee about the win/win deal on the table.

The selectmen agreed to hold a Special Town Meeting on Aug. 5 at 7:15 p.m. in the Ayer-Shirley Regional Middle School auditorium with only one article on the warrant. It will ask voters' permission to enter into a contract and borrow $570,873 over 15 years to pay the firm the Energy Committee has tapped to do the work.

With a contractual guarantee from the firm -- ABM -- stating that if energy savings don't completely cover the cost of the work as promised, including new equipment, they'll cut the town a check for the difference, the board unanimously endorsed the proposal, contingent on a favorable recommendation from the Finance Committee.

ABM already conducted the energy audit, the results of which were previously reported to the selectmen and the Finance Committee.

Now, the question is whether to enter into a performance contract with the company.

The scope of the work includes installing new, energy-efficient lighting and insulation in town buildings, upgrading street lights with energy-saving LED fixtures, and updating or replacing heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems in two of the buildings.

Central A/C will replace window units in the Senior Center and the War Memorial Building will get a new furnace, with heating systems switched from oil to gas in both buildings. Per the contract guarantee, cost of the project will be covered by energy savings realized from the upgrades, with HVAC systems and utility use measured annually and compared to baseline data. If not, and provided the equipment is properly maintained, ABM agrees to cut the town a check for the difference.

Overdue insurance bills

Town Treasurer Kevin Johnston gave the selectmen an update on unpaid insurance premium co-payments, an issue they asked him to look into a few weeks ago.

After creating policy last month that specified how this matter would be handled, the selectmen asked Johnston to "quantify" outstanding bills owed to the town. Based on the policy, $4,500 has been collected so far, Johnston said Monday night, and all current subscribers are paid up to date. It's the first time in years that has happened, he said.

However, there are nine former subscribers, no longer on the payroll or the insurance roster, who still have outstanding balances, four of whom are making payments "on their own," Johnston said. But the other five have made no effort to pay what they owe. The next step is to "pursue collection" of those debts, he said.

Dumont said the payoff process for the four former subscribers who are making good should be "formalized with a payment plan, which Johnston agreed to do.

As for the rest, Selectman David Swain suggested garnishing wages, attaching property liens or doing "whatever we can" to collect the money owned to the town.

Dumont agreed, up to a point. That is, the town shouldn't expend any more in legal costs to collect the debt that the debt itself amounts to. Everyone at the table agreed that caveat was a given.