Gouldsboro seeks to cut internet and electricity costs

Goldsboro Escalating utility and fuel bills have motivated municipal office staff to explore alternative service providers and other means to reduce municipal costs, but at the same time make operations more cost-effective and energy-efficient.

After getting the go-ahead, in the form of a 3-0 Select Board vote on March 3, interim City Manager Eve Wilkinson and City Infrastructure Supervisor Jim McClain move forward and switch from Spectrum to Consolidated Communications as the city office’s Internet provider. MacLean estimates that the change will cut the cost of monthly internet service in half, from $351 to $175 a month. Consolidated will install a custom fiber-optic cable that will provide wireless access to the city office, Fire Station #1 and the Prospect Harbor Ladies Club building.

In addition, MacLean says the city office will also see internet speed double from 25 to 50 megabits per second (Mbps) and related paperwork will be reduced from three internet service bills to one. He said Consolidated will waive the cost of installing fiber optics, which could begin in the coming weeks. He said the town’s initial outlay would likely be limited to purchasing a router and connecting an outlet.

Selectmen also supports McLean’s recommendation to sign with Ampion, a Boston-based company that provides solar power to businesses, municipalities, and residential property owners in Maine and elsewhere in New England. By signing and promoting Ampion, the city is given a 15 percent discount on their electric bill. MacLean estimates annual savings of $600 to $700.

“It’s a 15 percent savings on our energy costs,” he told The American. “Actual cost [of supplying energy] For every kilowatt-hour it will be reduced by 15 percent.”

MacLean added that once Gouldsboro signs up for Ampion, any local property owners who choose to sign up will receive a $100 gift card. The city will also receive a check for $100 for each local resident who signs up for the service.

“We all have to do what we can for the environment,” said the city’s infrastructure supervisor. “I am a staunch advocate of solar electricity. I think it is a good investment.”

At the March 3 meeting, City Bureau Superintendent Ann Lane informed selectors that Winter Harbor Council unanimously chose to join the Gouldsboro Broadband Initiative to improve the speed and quality of internet access across the Schoodic Peninsula. She said Winter Harbor Town Manager Cathy Carruthers has drafted a letter of support confirming her town’s participation in the project.

In other work, selectors have approved Goldsboro Historical Society’s request for $8,500 in funds in addition to the Dorcas Library and Food Pantry Lifeline Ministries’ requests for $8,000 and $3,000 in funding for the 2022-23 fiscal year. Representatives of the three organizations identified their needs.

Goldsboro Historical Society President Don Ashmoll reports that the society is exploring creating an endowment fund as well as the possibility of installing solar panels on its buildings as a way to reduce energy costs.
Selectman Robert Harmon reports that his wife, Donna Harmon, is taking over the pantry operation and the South Gouldsboro facility will require some remodeling. Mary Crowley has operated the Route 186 facility for years. She and her husband Chris, pastor of the Hard Rock Bible Baptist Church, move to Florida.

“We’ve been through some tough times here and here [the food pantry] “It kept people afloat,” said Selikman Ernie West.

Dorcas Library Board Member Margaret Jones told Selectees that the building had been modified to improve energy efficiency and the focus had shifted to the Learning Center building, which required roof and siding works, across the street. As the pandemic subsides, Jones said in-person activities are gradually resuming at both facilities.

In addition to editing the Arts and Entertainment section, Letitia edits special sections including Out & About, Overview, Health Quarterly, Your Maine Home, House & Garden, and Prepare for Winter. She comes from Chicago, Illinois, but has deep family ties to the Cranberry Islands. [email protected]