Dolphin Construction workers painted the white trim of the Monroe Town Hall roof and a new coat of gold paint on the cupola gleamed in the bright Friday afternoon sun. On Thursday night, the Town Council had unanimously approved a $344,674 contract with the company to repair the roof.
Dolphin is already the contractor for the police station building project, which includes a renovation and two small additions to the back of Town Hall. The roofs of the additions must be connected to the leaky old roof of the existing building.
Town Attorney John Fracassini, who negotiated the contract, told the council at its special meeting, "I would recommend its acceptance."
The $344,674 for asbestos abatement and replacement of roof shingles of town hall will be funded by the $390,000 bond authorization approved by voters at a Town Meeting in October. The remaining $45,326 will be set aside as a contingency for any unforeseen expenses.
The project will be overseen by the Town Council's Committee on Planning & Zoning, Public Works and Parks & Recreation Matters, which includes council members Tony Unger, Frank Lieto and Nick Kapoor.
Prior to approving the contract, council members debated whether to add in $13,750 for new copper rain leaders.
Anthony Vigilotti, senior project manager for Dolphin, attended the meeting and told the council the existing rain leaders are still functional and estimated they could last anywhere from seven to 15 years. He said new ones would have a warranty of at least 20 to 25 years.
"So it would behoove us to add in the alternates?" Debra Dutches asked fellow council members as most seemed to agree.
Unger said fixing the roof "piecemeal is crazy. I say we do the whole thing."
Kapoor agreed that the work should be done, but expressed concern over what would happen if the council approved the alternate only to wind up eating into the contingency after finding other problems when the shingles are pulled up.
The rest of the council agreed it would be best not to risk bumping up against the $390,000 approved for the work.
Though Unger voted in favor of the contract without the alternate for the rain leaders, he said, "I've been in favor of this roof since 2008. What I'm not in favor of is the piecemealing, including the air handlers on the roof."
Work Started Early
While Kapoor acknowledged the work needed to be done, he noted how Dolphin had already made repairs to the cupola before the Town Council approved the contract for the job.
Kapoor, who is also the Democratic Town Committee chairman, said his concerns were directed at First Selectman Steve Vavrek and not the contractor. Vavrek is a Republican.
"As a Town Council, we have an approval procedure," Kapoor said. "This is the third time in five or six months — the food vendor at Wolfe Park and the Town Meeting — where work started before our approval. Our rules and procedures outlined in the Town Charter are constantly being skirted."
Vavrek was not at the meeting, but on Friday he responded to Kapoor's criticism.
"If it wasn't done before the hurricane, half the building would have been flooded out," Vavrek said. "They asked me if I would authorize it and I did or we would have had worse damage. It was forward thinking."
In response to the complaint over the food vendor contract, Vavrek said it was something that had never been brought before the Town Council before, adding he only did so as a courtesy.
Vigilotti said Dolphin went ahead with the work on the cupola because much of the existing wood surfaces were rotting and deteriorating. In anticipation of Hurricane Sandy and with colder weather fast approaching, he said it was in the best interests of the town for the problems to be fixed.
If the Town Council decided not to approve the contract with Dolphin, the contractor would not have been paid for the work.
"I would have been grossly negligent if I would not have repaired that wood, knowing it could be a potential problem for town hall," Vigilotti said.