Darien school officials late last week were certain that a natural gas line would be laid under West Avenue within months, but now other town officials are saying "no" or "maybe."
And Yankee Gas isn't saying.
On April 6, schools he had met with Yankee Gas representatives about the expected pipeline.
"I said, 'In how many years do you think it will be there?'" Huot recounted. "Their reply was, 'We're not talking years—we're talking months."
Huot said the school district could save quite a bit of money if Middlesex Middle School were hooked up to a natural gas line.
The school district's heating oil bills amount to abot $800,000 a year. Michael Lynch, the school district's director of operations and maintenance, said natural gas can cut heating bills for a building nearly in half.
Town Finance Director Kathleen Buch said at Thursday evening's Board of Finance meeting that she was told at a Wednesday staff meeting of town department heads that "a gas line would not be coming up West Avenue."
The subject came up at the board meeting when members of the board said the school district might find money to make up for the $165,000 the board was cutting from the proposed town education budget.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, who was also at Thursday evening's Finance Board meeting, said she met with representatives from Yankee Gas on Tuesday.
"They are still in the process of evaluating the costs to bring the gas line up West Avenue," she said. "At this time, the costs seem prohibitive, but my understanding is [...] there is no firm decision at this time."
"The way the project came to me was the Allen O'Neill developers were asking what it would take for their project to enjoy natural gas," Stevenson said. "They apparently were given a very large—I don't know what that number is. The Allen O'Neill developers are engaging with other commercial property owners who could be served by the pipeline.
"My understanding is that it is trending unfavorable, but it's not a done deal yet."