Library struggling with HVAC system

Fairfield Public Library director Rebecca Johnson appeared before the Fairfield City Council Monday night to discuss the library’s HVAC situation, which is causing costly repairs and affecting library usage.

Johnson said the 23-year old HVAC system is having problems. In the last 12 months, more than $26,000 has been spent on repairs, she continued, plus there has been five flooding incidents in the last six months.

The failing system also is causing a loss of service. Johnson said the library was often hot and humid in the summer months, and the library board of directors actually closed the facility at times because it was an unhealthy situation. Then during the winter, staff members sometimes wore their winter coats inside to keep warm.

If the HVAC problems continue, the repair costs will continue, she said.

Replacing components of the HVAC system, such as the boiler, chiller and control system, over time will total about a quarter of a million dollars.

Fairfield Community School District’s facilities director Jeff Koontz, who has been consulting about the library’s HVAC system, told Johnson that summer is the best time to install a new boiler.

Johnson said that project could cost $280,000, and she is concerned, for the first time in the 15 years she has been the library director, that the library will go over budget.

The Fairfield Public Library Board of Directors will be discussing the boiler replacement at its meeting scheduled for Monday.

Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy suggested looking into if the library foundation had funds available, but Johnson said the foundation has been funding library materials for the last few years while the budget has been reduced. She is concerned if the foundation’s funds are depleted for the HVAC project, there will be no money for materials.

Malloy advised Johnson and the city council to “stay close on the issue so we can come up with a remedy.”

Also during the city council meeting Monday, a new taxi service was approved.

Chris Conklin of Fairfield is starting a service called Mobile Community Service LLC that is also known as Mobile Companion.

The new business has four main components.

First, it is a non-emergency medical transportation service designed to work with the local hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers, apartments and the homebound. The service provides needed transportation for the elderly, disabled, mentally challenged and the mentally ill population, international population and others in need of companion- based transportation. It provides a verity of assistance and social advocacy in regards to a particular environment.

“The companion service will set us apart,” said Conklin, explaining that he will remain with a client until he takes the client home.

Secondly, the business is a transportation service to other communities, cities, airports and out-of-town events.

Thirdly, the business is an adult driving education program providing behind-the-wheel driving instruction for the adult population at Maharishi University of Management.

Plus, the business is a taxi service available 24/7.

All services are set up on an appointment basis only.

Conklin is starting his business with one vehicle, a brown 2012 Honda Pilot that can seat eight passengers, which he will park at his residence in the 400 block of East Fillmore Avenue, but he hopes to expand the fleet.