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.
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."