Camden Bowl Broken Snowmaking Pump
authorizes emergency repair of snowmaking pump motor
By Susan Mustapich | Dec 12, 2017
— During a special meeting Dec. 11, the Select Board authorized up
to $27,000 to repair a large pump motor used for snowmaking from mid-mountain
to the top of the mountain at the Camden Snow Bowl.
Bowl Manager Beth Ward said that when the 500-horsepower pump motor was tested
last Tuesday, "we got some sparks and noises we don't like to hear, and it
shut itself down." The equipment test is done annually in December,
The reason the equipment is tested at the beginning of December is that Central
Maine Power levies a $3,000 per month demand charge in any month when the motor
is operated, so the test is done the month snowmaking begins.
repair option explained by Snow Bowl Mountain Operations Manager Tom
Beauregard, which would enable snowmaking to begin on the upper mountain next
week, costs $24,100, plus additional costs for electrical services. The
repair involves rebuilding the engine. He confirmed that current snowmaking is
not at full capacity.
board members had questions about the age and condition of the motor,
preventive maintenance, whether a fire truck pumper could be used to help make
snow this week, and how to fund the repair, they unanimously authorized Ward to
spend up to $27,000 to repair the pump motor.
explained that the used engine was purchased in 2014, and was past warranty.
Beauregard said the fire truck pumper was considered, but could not be wired to
the snowmaking equipment. Board Chair John French wants the Select Board to
discuss a maintenance plan for the future.
called on Town Manager Audra Caler-Bell to explain options the board has to pay
for the repair. Caler-Bell told board members, "You don't have to decide
tonight, if you feel you need more time." Board members listened to the
options, choosing to take more time before making a decision.
said one option is to charge the pump motor repair to the 2018 alpine operating
budget, and cover the cost of the repair with funds Ward has budgeted for
maintenance and repairs, hoping that during the coming ski season, there is
enough operating revenue to cover expenses.
option is to take the $27,000 for the repair from general fund contingency
monies in the municipal budget at the end of the year. That would require
moving money from the municipal budget to the Snow Bowl's enterprise fund.
third option involves a Snow Bowl contingency fund totaling $22,345 that was
budgeted for the 2017 ski season, Caler-Bell said. She explained that Finance
Director Jodi Hansen discovered that the contingency fund was not used. The
board could carry this Snow Bowl contingency fund from the 2017 budget to the
Snow Bowl 2018 budget, she said.
mentioned that auditors are still working on an audit of the Snow Bowl
enterprise fund. She said the auditors are indicating that "on paper"
the 2017 Snow Bowl budget would show a deficit.
asked, "When did this happen?" saying that the 2017 season finished
in the black, with about $50,000 after final expenses were paid. Caler-Bell
said the "paper" deficit was due to depreciation on new
equipment, and that more information would be available next week when the
audit wraps up.