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DL Library will have gas heat, not city electric

DETROIT LAKES -- Staff at the Detroit Lakes Public Library will no longer have to worry about heat.

With Becker County, which has provided the library building with heat at a reduced rate for years, replacing its heating system because of the addition to the courthouse, the city needed to take action on heating the library.

After getting quotes on replacing the boiler to provide either natural gas, electric or both, the decision was made to install natural gas.

The city's public utilities electrician Al Johnson said electric would be too costly for the city because lines would have to be brought throughout the building.

"It's a lot of money just for the conductor," he said.

Running the line outside the building would find too many obstacles and cost about the same amount.

Bids for the gas and electric system together were between $70,000 and $80,000.

Alderman Bruce Imholte said that while gas is the cheaper option now, since the city owns the electric, it should look at the future cost.

"The payback just wasn't there," City Inspector Cal Mayfield said.

He added that it would be a 20-year payoff and by then new equipment would likely need to be installed anyway.

"We did investigate every possible angle to make it dual," City Finance Officer Lou Guzek said, of gas and electric options.

Alderman Jim Anderson questioned if the system would be able to expand if the library expands. Johnson said yes, it wouldn't be a problem. He added that it wouldn't be a problem to add a dual heat feature in the future if wanted.

Because the library hadn't budgeted for the new heating system, funds for the $37,500 boiler from Green's Heating will be taken out of the liquor fund.

Also at the finance committee and city council, the aldermen discussed a proposal for a new sound system throughout the council chambers.

Bids ranged from $32,500 to $44,500 for the system, with another $3,200 for construction of a pedestal and podium.

Ruling out one of the bids, aldermen questioned if there was any reason to not go with the smaller bid.

"I can answer that," City Administrator Bob Louiseau said, "because we have no money budgeted for this."

Guzek agreed and said the council could decide to budget for the project in the future, but with just taking money from the liquor fund for the library heating system, it didn't seem best to take more for a system that wasn't really needed.

"It's really not a necessity," Alderman Dave Aune agreed.

The city is also preparing for other costs, like with the Highway 10 project for example, that may come up in the next year or two.

"It would be nice, but how are we going to pay for this?" Alderman Leonard Heltemes said.

The matter was referred to the budget committee for further discussion in the future.