SHIRLEY -- If Energy Committee Chairman Bryan Dumont's update to selectmen Monday night wasn't as lengthy as usual, maybe it was because he had only good news and work in progress to report, including a win/win deal to buy 209 streetlights from National Grid for a dollar.
Retrofitted with LED fixtures, the streetlights, some of which have been out of commission for years, including some that were doused to save money, and none of which National Grid wants to keep in its inventory any more, can illuminate many dark spots around town for a substantially reduced electric bill, Dumont said.
Meanwhile in the Village, decorative, town-owned streetlights, some of which had also gone dark, are all shining again, thanks to the EC's efforts to get them back on line.
Installed as part of a streetscape improvement program several years ago and paid for with a grant, the fancy lamps are now all decked out with energy-saving LED bulbs.
The streetlight component is part of the energy-saving commitment imbedded in the town's Green Community status and the grant that came with it, with the prospect of more to come. In addition to committee-driven initiatives the grant paid for, the Energy Committee brokered a $48,000, 15-year Performance Contract with a firm called ABM that Town Meeting approved and agreed to borrow money to pay for earlier this year.
Later this week, ABM, National Grid and Guardian Energy have a conference call scheduled to map out staggered LED installations for the 209 newly acquired streetlights, so the whole town doesn't go black all at once, Dumont said.
Operating under the Performance Contract, ABM is currently wrapping up agreed-upon improvements, retrofits and installations in designated town buildings. As part of the contract, the firm has agreed to provide monitoring services for the next 15 years to ensure the promised 20 percent savings targeted to pay the debt are achieved.
To date, the following work has been done or nearly completed, Dumont said.
* Lighting retrofits at Hazen Memorial Library are 80 percent complete.
* Lighting retrofits at the police station are 100 percent done, with building envelope upgrades scheduled soon.
* Boilers have been tuned up or replaced, with new, gas-fired boilers installed at the fire station, War Memorial Building and Senior Center and insulating envelope upgrades to follow in the latter two buildings.
* Materials are on order to retrofit the newly purchased streetlights with LED lights.
Thanksgiving shutdown set for Town Offices
The last building on the to-do list is the Town Offices, which ABM plans to tackle in three phases during Thanksgiving, starting the Wednesday before the holiday and wrapping up over the weekend.
Town administrator Patrice Garvin, who has been working with the committee and ABM to coordinate temporary move-outs for land use and health board offices, located on the second floor of the building, said the process should take about four days, start to finish, excluding Thanksgiving Day.
The building will be closed while the work is going on.
Dumont said the crews will drag hefty hoses through the building and will be working mostly on the second floor to access the ceiling and the roof.
Reasoning that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a half-day anyway, Garvin recommended the building be closed that day for the safety of employees and the public. The selectmen agreed to make it so.
The board's JBOS (Joint Boards of Selectmen) representative, Robert Prescott, updated his colleagues on goings-on at Devens, with a roundtable discussion scheduled in Ayer on Nov. 14 to air pros and cons and gather community input.
At its meeting the previous night, JBOS discussed Devens self-government, Prescott said, a concept that is "picking up steam" with the three host towns as part of it.
Devens Committee representatives had "a number of questions" about a mostly Harvard-driven idea that would allow self-governance but with MassDevelopment still on board continuing to develop the former military base, Prescott said.
Currently, the state agency is tasked with redevelopment and also acts as a government for the small Devens community, with a resident Fire Department and DPW and contracts between MassDevelopment and various outside or state agencies providing other public services, including police and schools.
MassDevelopment calls all the shots now, developing Devens as outlined in the Devens Reuse Plan and governing under the tenets of state law, specifically, Chapter 498, legislation that established Devens as a civilian enclave of businesses and residences after Fort Devens was decommissioned in 1996.
Assisted by the Devens Enterprise Commission (DEC) as its one-stop permit authority and JBOS as an advisory board made up of selectmen from the three towns, the law spelled out how Devens would be governed by MassDevelopment until a disposition plan acceptable to the three towns was finalized, or by 2033, whichever came first.
In the interim, there have been efforts to step up the disposition process and fizzled moves by Devens residents to create a new town. But although MassDevelopment and JBOS-led initiatives such as rezoning historic Vicksburg Square for various combinations of commercial and residential redevelopment (two tries) made significant headway, none made the final cut.
When it came to a vote, all three towns had to say yes, which hasn't happened yet.
Next on the disposition agenda is the question of Devens self-governance.