Every month we write checks to National Grid, to Devens Utilities and other energy entities to pay for the most basic services; heat, air-conditioning and lights, and we never see that money again.

No improvements in our operations, no spending of that money for other needs in our community, it's simply gone. But on Aug. 5, at 7:15 p.m. at the Middle School auditorium we can fix that!

Our Energy Committee has been working on a program for months to resolve some of this, and we can with Performance Contracting!

This isn't being "rushed" as on Aug. 18, this program will have been being considered, reviewed and fine-tuned for a solid year. This is not a "Shirley Idea" either. Since 2011, 32 communities have joined a long list of Massachusetts communities using this program and its benefits.

What is the benefit to Shirley?

Simple. We are asking the residents for the authority to borrow $570,873 with absolutely NO increase to the taxpayer. For that amount we completely retool seven town-owned properties, making them energy efficient. We'll then realize guaranteed savings in Shirley's case that comes to 26 percent in units of energy and 39 percent in today's dollars. It's THIS savings, approximately $48,000 per year, that we use to pay off the borrowing.

Think of it this way, currently, we are sending that $48,000 plus a significant amount more every year to the varied energy utilities that keep the town's heat, A/C and electrical running. After the construction is completed, we are sending them $48,000 less because of the energy savings and are taking that $48,000 and paying off the construction.

If that was not a good enough reason/benefit, is there more?

Yes, there is. Each year it's costing the town more and more money in taxpayer dollars in reactive repairs, to keep systems in town buildings operational. As the current equipment continues to age, repair costs can be expected to continue to rise. Additionally, some of these older items, boilers, air-handling units and the like will have to be placed on the capital plan, costing us taxpayers more in additional taxation to replace them as they fail.

With this program, we are either going to replace systems or retro-commission existing systems bringing them to maximum operational efficiency meaning expensive repairs to these expensive systems drop significantly and replacing older equipment with new efficient equipment now, under this program, prevents us from paying for it later with direct taxpayer dollars.

What if all these savings are not there?

Our committee has been involved with the long study conducted by the company we selected, doing measurement and verification, readings and in-depth reviews. They then had their engineers review all the energy data and come up with a plan. That plan was then taken apart by our owner's agent, who works for the town, and each and every piece of information was verified.

If Town Meeting approves borrowing (at no additional taxpayer burden), a contract will be completed that will GUARANTEE the units of energy savings (26 percent). In simple terms, if the contractor, after the extensive review and construction, fails to meet that percentage, they will be required by contract, supported by Massachusetts law, to reimburse the town the difference. We and the contractor fully expect to achieve additional savings, above the 26 percent level, meaning more savings in the budget!

All of your Energy Committee members pay taxes just like you and have all lived in Shirley a long time. All of us want to avoid paying more taxes to repair or replace things that we now have the opportunity to have replaced or returned to like-new condition at no cost to us. And we can eliminate these items for future replacements that would come with a tax impact.

We ask for your support on Aug. 5; help us to help the town at no tax burden to any of us.

BRYAN DUMONT

Shirley