The Costs & Savings To Upgrade City Hall’s Building Management System

Eastern Heating and Cooling who has been the “preferred” mechanical service provider to the City of Kingston notes that “Kingston City Hall at 420 Broadway is currently at point where immediate attention is needed in order to prevent further unnecessary spending, possible system failure and capture future Energy savings”. Below is their letter.

So here’s the scoop.

If the city of Kingston were to opt to upgrade our building’s management system, it would cost tax payers $105,000.00 as stated in the papers. At a 2% annual interest rate for a loan that is 10 years in length, the city would pay $11,892.84 each year for ten years until the loan was repaid.

Now let’s look at the savings.

With an upgrade, the savings is estimated to be $5,678.00 in year one. It continues to escalate each year. This actually cuts our annual loan payment in half. Below is an “annual and accumulated savings sheet” which will show the accumulated savings over the course of 20 years as being $152,569.99. I bet it would even be more than that. Keep in mind that after the first ten years, the savings are the city’s to keep.

Read through the documents and be in touch with your alderman to find out more information if you need to.

Seems like a no brainer to me. My vote is to start the bidding process.

– Rebecca Martin

Annual and Accumulated Savings with updated Heating/Cooling at City Hall

Eastern Heating and Cooling, Inc.: Upgrade to Building Management System

Eastern Heating and Cooling, Inc: Upgrade page 2

Eastern Heating and Cooling, Inc.: Upgrade, Page 3

3 thoughts on “The Costs & Savings To Upgrade City Hall’s Building Management System”

  1. Here’s a problem: the money is clearly spent and the bills are due but the savings are not sequestered in any way and are lost, like tears in rain.
    For instance, how are the parking meters working out? The money spent, the salaries paid, the people inconvenienced, business lost, and the city getting the revenue and being careless with it.
    Unless the savings can be captured, and meaningfully applied, all we know for sure is that money will be spent.
    Then there’s the whole question, are the savings realized? does the system work? How long are the repairs good for, do they require added maintenance. And why didn’t it work in the first place?
    I disagree that it is a no brainer.

    • What I find is at the core on the problem front for Kingston is that the citizens are not trusting in how their tax dollars are managed. This distrust leads to a general polarization of opinions making it hard if not impossible to do the right thing. I have to admit, I am one of those who is skeptical of how our local government runs. There are so many errors and complications along with pretty terrible communication on both sides – that have led to a poorly run city for far too long.

      That said, there is so much updating that needs to be done in the city of Kingston. Most of it is now harder to fix and more expensive due to a lack of ongoing maintenance. We know, too – that certain items such as the sewer/overflow problem, a comprehensive plan, straightening out union issues, overseeing department heads, the pike plan, etc. have been politically unpopular and so, pushed aside for many years – decades even – left for some other time.

      Your questions are excellent ones and we hope that the information provided here will help you to have a better discussion with your Alderman or the Finance/Economic Committee members if you choose to.

  2. Executive Summary: I think the costs are relatively small against a well documented failing system and work should be done quickly. But somebody in the city has to be responsible, some person, one person has to give an intelligent and public sign off. But are there no processes defined?
    background, comments

    The proposal listed with the post is very helpful in understanding the nature of the product. Or a view of the nature of the project, as, as we see in health care, different views produce wildly different approached and accounting. Nonetheless, some of the information may be self supporting: the software runs on 386 machines… I assume that must mean actual 386 hardware, and not 386 architecture and that all software requires native 386 software. The proprietary nature of the software, lack of updates (I didn’t see anything about that) also sounds very bad.
    And I personally know of a dos 386 basic program that has been upgraded to run on windows XP under a compatible basic compiler, and proprietary circuit cards have been replaced with general purpose USB interface devices, so stuff can be done…
    Anyway, way too complicated, and there is yet a process flaw, or let us say the absence of a process…
    Has the original provider been contacted, and it there any proposal from them. Further, are there any contractual obligations the city can call in
    2) What was the process that let the contract in the first place, does this failure constitute a process break. Indeed, is there a working process in place to apply to the repair of the BMS system
    3) Who owns the process, and what city official and or paid consultant reviews and signs off on the package. However good the intent and product of the proposer, the consequences and benefits are on the city, and a knowledgeable city official or process must approve and validate the figures. And there absolutely need to be bonds and specifications of liquidating damages on contracts undertaken by the city. The city should surely have specified preferred contractors, and establish long term and continuing financial relationships that help both the city and the health of the supplying contractors.
    Here comes another problem: this government work is really really hard, requires very very bright and dedicated people. And very very well compensated people. It’s hard to imagine every city having that kind of a crew. I suggest the county is the place to center this kind of expertise and provide services to all.
    So much of this comes down to process, and the cities need working processes to follow. This, and things like requirement for comprehensive plans should come down from the county.
    Ah, one more thing: how many aldermen would consider to be competent and available to discuss this problem? If information is to come from the aldermen, the common council should designate one alderman responsible and capable. Or have the mayor make an appointment.
    Sorry, this is way too long.


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