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City officials discuss replacing boiler at RPD

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Pictured is the Roswell Police Department on West Second Street and North Richardson Avenue. (Alison Penn Photo)

The city of Roswell faces an estimated cost of $94,000 to replace two boiler units at the Roswell Police Department.

At the Infrastructure Committee meeting on Oct. 22, City Engineer Louis Najar said the engineering department was informed on Oct. 19 that only one of the two existing boilers at the RPD could be used. Najar said funding to replace the boiler is not in the facilities budget at this time and he wanted to inform the council.

No formal action was taken and the only discussion occurred at last month’s meeting and this month’s Infrastructure Committee meeting, on Monday evening. Najar said one boiler is “completely out and the other is on its way out” and the boilers will require upgrades to be up to code.

Early afternoon on Monday, Todd Wildermuth, city public information officer, said Kevin Dillon, the city’s director of facilities and maintenance, had explained the boiler has been “red-tagged,” or shut down, and will not be in use.

“There is no risk to the building or its occupants in regard to the existing boiler not in use,” Wildermuth wrote in an emailed statement. “The issue of the bad boiler was caught prior to bringing it online for the winter.

“The only issue of concern is that half of the building will be without heat until a new boiler is installed. A cost to replace the boiler has been provided to city administration and approval to purchase the new equipment and install it is awaited.”

Of the red-tagged boiler, Najar said the city cannot “run it because of a safety hazard — it might blow up.” Najar also said the RPD boiler matter is a “critical one” in terms of the engineering department’s priorities.

At last month’s meeting, Dillon said the city was waiting to determine exact costs, but he also estimated the job could cost $80,000 to be done properly. Najar explained the $80,000 includes two units with controls, at $40,000 each.

Dillon said the estimated cost is now $94,000 to replace the boilers and the engineering department is waiting on funding approval. Finance Director Monica Garcia explained the finance department is looking into the General Fund budget to see if the city has any savings available to transfer to the project. If this is possible, she said she will meet with City Manager Joe Neeb and other city officials to make a decision. However, Garcia said if a mid-year budget amendment is required to allocate funds from the city’s reserves, the council will have the final say with a vote.

At last month’s meeting, Councilors Caleb Grant and Jeanine Corn Best brought up the idea of a public safety complex, which has been discussed throughout the year by the council. Best said the idea for the public safety complex is to construct a facility comparable to the one in Artesia.

Best said a current fix would be “a band-aid” through the winter, but said it could take a winter or two before a decision is reached to construct a public safety complex. Grant asked if there was a possible temporary fix if the city decided to pursue a new public safety facility. For a temporary fix, Dillon said the city could install a single “old-school” boiler with no controls, instead of installing high-efficiency lead-lag boilers, and estimates this could cost between $30,000 and $40,000.

“Personally, I think that if you’re going to do that you might as well spend the $80,000 dollars to get it completely done,” Councilor Juan Oropesa said at last month’s meeting.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.