Selectmen move to expedite roof repairs

A sudden rainstorm on Aug. 1 created a downpour in the town clerk’s office at town hall due to a breach in the building’s roof.

Facilities director Chris Burney said water was “pouring into the vault” through a hole in the ceiling due to a seam in the roof that “was wide open.” First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said the situation is “urgent.” Town officials had previously been notified the roof needs to be replaced but this was a new development.

Burney and Vanderslice made their comments at a special meeting of the Police HQ/Town Campus Building Committee on Aug. 2 at town hall also attended by committee co-chairs Patti Temple and David Waters.

This was followed up by a meeting of the Board of Selectmen on Aug. 6, when members authorized Vanderslice to execute a contract for repair and waive the usual request for proposals process. Any contract would be reviewed by the town attorney, she said.

According to Burney, the section of the roof in question is about 1,000 square feet and he said it can be replaced without affecting other areas. He expects the cost would be about $50,000 and will get specifications and then solicit bids.

“We put a temporary patch on it today,” he said on Aug. 2, “but it can’t stay because of the age of the existing roof. The rubber patch will not last through the winter. … My guess is we’ll be doing it in September.”

Vanderslice asked Temple and Waters to call the special meeting because she wanted to bring the matter to the attention of the Board of Selectmen at Monday’s meeting. Normally, the building committee, which does not meet again until Aug. 21, would present a contract to the selectmen, but Vanderslice wanted to put this matter on a fast track.

“The cost of what’s in that room being destroyed or duplicated is huge,” Vanderslice said of the vault, which holds the town’s vital records such as land records, birth and death records, and more. Although the records could be scanned electronically, original paper copies must be maintained by state statute. In addition, she said, they must be in town hall or stored somewhere easily accessible.

At the Board of Selectmen meeting, Vanderslice said she trusts Burney to oversee the job and expressed confidence that he has more education and experience for his position than any predecessor.
— Tony Spinelli contributed to this story.