The Board of Finance (BOF) sat at a very full table Monday night at Town Hall, when joined by members of the Board of Education (BOE).
The two boards discussed, item-by-item the proposed cost to get Peck Place School back up and running by Aug. 1, 2014 so that it can be ready for the first day of the 2014-15 school year on Sept. 2.
On Jan. 6, a pipe burst at Peck Place School causing flooding throughout 60% of the building.
The BOE jumped on it immediately in an effort to get the problem areas repaired as quickly as possible so the students could get back to their school.
After finding asbestos in the mastic (glue) under the damaged floor tiles, school officials explored the remainder of the building for other issues that could cause problems in the future.
They approached First Selectman Jim Zeoli, with their findings and went through the state database to find certified contractors who are approved by the state to start working on the project.
The BOS approved $115,000 for the Phase 1 asbestos abatement.
BOF member PJ Shanley asked the BOE what was being done to ensure that the same thing wouldn’t happen again.
BOE Facilities Director Mike Luzzi said they were going to insulate the outside walls; possibly get an automatic shutoff; disconnect and try not to have any water pipes in any of the classrooms, except for the very little kids who they wouldn’t want to send out in the halls by themselves to get a drink of water or to wash their hands.
BOF member James Leahy stressed that he wanted a timeline for all of the work that was to be done at the school.
This was something that selectmen Mitch Goldblatt and Ralph Okenquist both spoke of during the special BOS meeting just hours prior to the BOF meeting.
Fred Kendrick also from the BOF said, he wanted to be assured that the work would be done in time for the kids to get back to school in the fall. He insisted that when contracts were drawn up that each included a timeline for the work to be done.
Leahy said, “A timeline is imperative. we must know that the job can be done by Aug. 1 or the BOF can’t approve anything.”
After looking over the entire spending spreadsheet provided by BOE Business Manager Kevin McNabola, BOF Chairman Kevin Houlihan said, “This estimate is for the worst case scenario. There has to be savings in there somewhere.”
Houlihan verified that the town’s current fund balance is $13 million. “This would be a supplemental appropriation from the fund balance to the BOE budget, non-transferable for anything but this action,” he told the BOE members.
The BOF approved the spending, stressing that the words “not to exceed” the dollar amount before them was included in the motion, and any reimbursements received through bonding, the state or insurance would go to reduce the appropriation.
Below is the spending spreadsheet presented to the BOS and BOF on Monday.
The Lines for Cabinetry and Electrical work both were blacked out for a reason. The cabinetry is going out to bid and the UI has an incentive program the will cut down on the lighting costs. The town has used it in several buildings and it has been a proven cost cutting program.
Superintendent Lynn McMullin said “Renovate Like New” Grant money could be available but waiting for approval and to obtain it would take a long time.