[Editor's Note: The original story was published on Oct. 25, 2011.]
Update, Nov. 30
Another Representative Town Meeting (RTM), another vote to postpone.
But this time the decision to delay a vote on whether or not to approve the Board of Education's a $901,467 roof warranty extension project for five of the town's elementary schools came at the suggestion of the Superintendent of Schools himself and Town Facilities Commission Chair Al Kelly.
Supt. David Title and Kelly had done their due diligence since the RTM agreed at its October meeting to postpone the vote to garner another estimate for the cost of extending the life of the roofs. The result is an estimate that nearly halves the original request for funding.
Kelly and the TFC hired an architect to conduct an "outside gauge" of the project, Title said. Kelly added the architect's estimate -- $400,000 to $450,000 -- did not include a warranty as a driving force behind the projected cost.
"These numbers are way too far apart for the same work," Title said. The two men told the RTM that they would like the time between now and the Dec. 19 meeting to sit the TFC's architect and the Board of Educations' consultant to hammer out their scopes and come up with a number both groups could agree on to present to the RTM.
The representatives agreed and unanimously voted to postpone the decision to the December meeting. Members expressed relief at the Board of Education and TFC's ability to work together to produce a cost estimate.
"This is very encouraging," said Ann Stamler, D-5. But she questioned whether each consultant was measuring the same scope of work.
Thus the need to have each architect explain how they came up with their costs, Kelly and Title agreed.
The Board of Education’s a that would benefit five public elementary schools was postponed by the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) Tuesday to its November meeting.
The approved the postponement in a 23 – 17 vote. Members were hesitant to vote yes or no to fund the extension because of conflicting reports from the and the (TFC).
“I’d like to support this warranty if it’s a good deal,” said Thomas McCarthy, R-8. “But I don’t know at this point if it’s a good deal or not.”
The roof warranty extension would essentially buy five years more years of life on sections of the roofs on , , , , and elementary schools.
Extending the warranty would put off having to completely replace these roofs, according to the request submitted by the Board of Education.
Members previously heard from representatives of both bodies regarding which was more cost-effective: funding the warranty (under which repairs, such as leaks, would be covered) or completely replacing the roofs eventually and funding for repairs on an as-needed basis.
Those who seemed to favor the TFC’s suggestion to forgo the warranty had the following to say:
- Al Kelly, TFC Chair: “It seemed like an inordinate amount of money to spend on roofs. This is not a good investment for the town.”
- Kathryn Braun, R-8: “It seems like a lot of money for a five-year warranty when I don’t think that a new roof would cost so much.”
- Nick Mirabile, R-9: “Some of these schools are not quite priority roof replacements.” Mirabile argued that the cost of the warranty per school was too much to justify the extending the warranty rather than just replacing the roofs when the time came.
Those who entertained the idea of funding the warranty extension had the following to say:
- Dr. David Title, Superintendent of Schools: “We’re comfortable with the due diligence [put into this request]. We’d be given five years of life. It will give us certainty going forward that any leaks will be covered by that warranty and will not come out of our budget.” He added that all the schools in question have reported leaks, and smaller repair costs would be factored into the 2012-2013 budget.
- Mary McCullough, R-3: McCullough said the town had to build a new school because it didn’t attend to facility problems in the past. She was also concerned about the timeline for the program and ensuing roof repairs -- the vote must come by the end of December to start repairing the roofs in the summer, under warranty or not.
The RTM majority decided it could not make an informed decision without more information about the scope of the work that needs to be done on each roof and if there really is a lower-cost alternative to the warranty extension, as the TFC suggested.
To determine these cost comparisons, the Board of Education will need to hire a consultant (which would cost about $30,000, according to Title, and Chief Fiscal Officer Paul Hiller said could be appropriated from another account) to conduct infrared roof scans and other inspections.
The TFC will need to get members up on the roofs to survey the work that needs to be done, according to Kelly -- this would also require some appropriation, as the TFC “has no money,” Kelly said.
Once each body returns to the RTM with more detailed plans, members plan to vote -- the desired deadline is the Nov. 28 meeting.