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Bonding of $390K to Fix Town Hall's Leaky Roof Heads to the Voters

The Town Council and Board of Finance approved of a bond authorization Tuesday night.

A $390,000 bond authorization to remove asbestos and replace the shingles on Monroe Town Hall's leaky roof was unanimously approved by both the Town Council and the Board of Finance on Tuesday night. Voters will make the final decision on the funds at a Town Meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on Oct. 15.

Town Finance Dir. Carl Tomchik said two police station additions under construction in back of the building, along with the fact that the roof leaks when it rains and winter is just around the corner, prompted him to move forward on securing funds for the needed repairs.

"You've seen the buckets. You've seen the puddles," Tomchik told Board of Finance members at their special meeting. "And we're trying to fix this."

The Board of Finance started its meeting at 7:30 p.m., then voted for a recess so the Town Council could vote on the bonding first at its 8 p.m. meeting. The finance board then reconvened and approved the money itself.

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Though there was unanimous approval for the bonding, some officials criticized the way the project is being handled.

Town Councilman Tony Unger asked Tomchik if there will be a contract at some point and Tomchik said yes. When Unger asked about replacing the building's HVAC system, Tomchik told him all the facts are not in to pursue that project now, adding town hall's upgrades are being done one piece at a time.

Unger pointed out that there have been discussions on the need to fix town hall's roof for the past five years and complained that there still is no formal plan in place.

"Not having a plan and not planning ahead is disrespectful to this group of people and to the town of Monroe," Unger said.

Tomchik said, "I'm not part of Public Works. I'm not part of building maintenance. I just thought it was time to bring this forward."

Town Councilwoman Debra Dutches said, "I take exception to Mr. Tomchik being the only forward thinking person in this room."

Town Councilman Nick Kapoor said, "I agree with Mr. Unger. I don't like how this was done, but on the other hand I see the need. The 'what' outweighs the 'how' for me in this case."

Because there would be no additional costs over what has already been appropriated in the operating budget this year, Dutches said she could support the bonding resolution.

What If Costs Rise?

The HVAC system still needs to be replaced, but Public Works Dir. Doug Arndt assured the Town Council that the HVAC design would not affect the roof replacement.

Unger asked that the Town Council Committee on Planning, Zoning, Parks & Recreation and Public Works oversee the project and the rest of the council agreed. Any change orders would have to be approved by the Town Council.

The roof project would have a $17,000 contingency. Town Councilman Nick Kapoor asked Tomchik what would happen if the cost of the work exceeds the budget and its contingency.

Tomchik said he would have to come before the Town Council and Board of Finance with a request for additional funding.

Earlier in the evening, Tomchik told Board of Finance members that there's no telling how much bad roof may be underneath the old shingles.

"It's been up there over 40 years," he said. "I might have to come back for more money. Hopefully, I won't."

Donna Gail October 10, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Haven't we been having road paving done the last few years that WASN'T bonded for? That was my understanding. And sewers - you know that is not a budgeting issue as much as logistics. If the town hall roof is over 40 years old, I would think it's about time it gets done. I don't really understand why they can't have these items in the budget, though - set up some kind of timeline for all the infrastructure improvements (other than emergency repairs) & include them in the operating budget. It seems like there are committees that have been working on these things but I don't know if anything is ever officially put into use.
D. Sickles October 10, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Under this First Selection the town has spent close to a million dollars in legal fees for the Planning and Zoning. The town also has 21 lawsuits against it - under Buzi there were about 3. I guess they want the new roof to keep all those lawyers dry and comfy as they run up and down the hallways suing this administration.
QWERTY October 10, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Logistics in terms of what? Aside from money, is there a reason why Bridgeport wouldn't take our waste? I haven't been following this sewer saga closely at all.
Mike Wright October 11, 2012 at 11:08 AM
The 40 year old shingles have asbestos in them. They have to be removed using special labor intensive procedures. This is also a pretty big roof.
Mike Wright October 11, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Each worker on a job working for the Town is required to be paid "prevailing wages" which means they must be paid a minimum wage of about $35 per hour plus about $20 per hour in benefits. They gotta have money to feed their kids you know.

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