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Town Attorney: Don't Rush to Judgment on Honeywell

An energy contract between Honeywell and the town involves $5 million to $7 million worth of building projects.

Honeywell executives are eager to get going on projects they say could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy savings for Monroe's school and municipal buildings. The millions of dollars worth of upgrades would all be paid with the savings, according to the firm.

The Board of Education voted to support the scope of work being proposed, but a contract would need approval from the Board of Finance and the Town Council. Town Attorney Jack Fracassini is working with Honeywell to finalize a contract proposal for their review, but he recently cautioned Town Council members to do their due diligence before making a decision.

"I want to make it clear that the boards and the commissions in this town should not rush to judgment on this," Fracassini told the Town Council at its meeting Monday. "It's a lot of information. This is $5 million to $7 million in terms and obligations for the town."

The scope of the work being proposed is outlined in this article: http://patch.com/A-y1TX.

Fracassini has been working on the contract since August and called the negotiations meaningful, saying Honeywell has made a lot of concessions to the town.

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Before completing the contract, Fracassini wants to see full reports on all town and Board of Education owned buildings.

"I'm not comfortable with the financial information," he said.

If the Town Council and Board of Finance approves a contract, Fracassini said it would come before voters at a Town Meeting.

The contract is currently 282 pages long and Fracassini said he would have copies made for town officials to review this week.

"There are a lot of things that have to be considered," he said. "I advise you to do your homework before voting on this. I'm not giving a legal opinion until that due diligence report is in."

Council Questions

Councilwoman Dee Dee Martin asked if the scope of work were to be reduced — taking out work on Monroe Elementary School for example — if the entire contract would have to be redone. Fracassini said it would.

Councilman Tony Unger said, "I want to see cost savings by building."

"That's why I want the due diligence to be done," Fracassini said. "I have no problem with that at all."

"I'm told a lot of towns in the state used Honeywell for this purpose," Fracassini said, before offering to produce a list of those towns, so their officials can be asked how their agreements with Honeywell are working out.

Councilwoman Debra Dutches said, "I'm a little concerned with the 'all or nothing.' I understand there is a state rebate. Do we need Honeywell to do it to receive this?"

"From the top of my head, I'll say you do, but I haven't reviewed the state legislation," Fracassini replied. "If you haven't done your complete review — If we lose it, we lose it."

Gerald M. Gaynor October 25, 2012 at 10:49 AM
Few phrases invite skepticism quite like "The millions of dollars worth of upgrades would all be paid with the savings, according to the firm." This is an election years and we've been told that the moon and the stars are going to be paid for with "future savings"...
jim laguardia October 25, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Maybe I am naive but shouldn't the person working on the contract have all the answers?? Not "the top of my head I'll say you do, but I haven't reviewed the state legislation"
Rt25 October 25, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Jim, in Monoe this town attorney's performance is always acceptable and never questioned. He pretty much has it all wrapped up and a million dollar income to boot.
Robert Martin October 25, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Sounds interesting but I would bet most of the savings are going to be from switching to gas from oil. You don't need Honeywell to figure that part out. I would take that out of the equation to see how much they are going to bring to the table beyond that.
Donna Gail October 25, 2012 at 12:54 PM
In all fairness, if it's a 282-page contract & he's also waiting for reports about all the town buildings in order to give further advice, I'd say it would be pretty impossible to have all the answers right off the bat to any questions that may arise. There are probably alot of different angles and issues to address. Since it is such a huge amount of money at stake, he's wiser to research & confirm.
Alex October 25, 2012 at 12:55 PM
" The millions of dollars worth of upgrades would all be paid with the savings" That's completely reliant on energy prices. Is Honeywell guaranteeing these savings as in if the upgrades do not produce as much savings as estimated, they'll make up the difference?
D. Sickles October 25, 2012 at 01:02 PM
No decision from the attorney making at least $150 per hour. Why are we paying this guy so much money. I don't care how long the contract is this attorney needs to do his job. With all the money he is making off this town he will be living the high life when he retires. Another brilliant hire by Vavrek.
Steve Kirsch October 25, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Alex, yes, these are guaranteed savings and yes, Honeywell will pay us if they are not met. Many of the systems will be monitored to ensure that the town is doing its part as well. Honeywell claims that they are conservative (they understate savings) to ensure they have a plan they know can be met.
Steve Kirsch October 25, 2012 at 02:49 PM
As I stated before the Town Council - the contract and related documents need to be put on the town web site so we, the people, can also look through it.
QWERTY October 25, 2012 at 04:02 PM
How about expand some of those natural gas lines to residential homes? I understand the town's obligation to it's infrastructure, but when do the residents experience any infrastructure improvements? Another hurricane on the way...what has the town done this year to mitigate my chances of being without power for ANOTHER week?
Geezer October 26, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Is Honeywell backing up these guaranteed savings with an insurance policy like LLoyds of London? Do we know what the current outstanding commitments are for Honeywell ?
Quit Ur Crying October 27, 2012 at 12:02 AM
In order to expand the gas lines in town to residential locations it would have to be worthwhile for Yankee gas to do so. I can't imagine that the revenue would be great enough to bring those lines in without charging those residents for the lines which most people wouldn't pay for.

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