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FinCom Unanimously Supports Prescott Sprinkler Funding

by Connie Sartini
At a joint virtual meeting Monday night with the Community Preservation Committee, the Finance Committee and the Select Board, Town Manager Mark Haddad updated them regarding the bid for installation of a fire suppression system for Prescott School. He stressed that the town’s engineer has completed his review of the lowest bid submitted by Xcel Fire Protection.
     Based on this discussion and review of the bid, the engineer said he is comfortable that Xcel has a full understanding of the project scope and has included all necessary work (site work, fire alarm, sprinkler, cutting/patching, painting, new water service line and overall coordination) in their bid. Xcel Fire Protection was the low bidder for the project at $249,400. The only other bid received was from and Carlysle Engineering at $463,000.
      Haddad advised that Xcel has provided the town with their DCAMM Certificate of Eligibility. They also have agreed in writing to hold their bid through Town Meeting.
     Haddad added that he expected the project would be completed by Fall. “Based on this, I have award them the bid, subject to Town Meeting appropriation,” Haddad said.
     Haddad added, “I would respectfully request that the Community Preservation Committee leave the project proposal at $125,000. While it is more than anticipated, I would like to leave a sufficient cushion in the project budget to cover any unanticipated expenses. Whatever is not spent will, obviously, be return to the CPA Fund.
     Community Preservation
     Committee (CPC) Chairman Dan Emerson said that the CPC approved postponing all the CPC articles on the Town Meeting warrant and unanimously supported the article for the wages for the Housing Coordinator and registered a split vote on support for the Prescott School sprinkler project.
      CPC member Anna Eliot pointed out that at the CPC’s March vote, “The Prescott School was the lowest ranked of all the project. How did this then get prioritized over the other projects?” Emerson said that the CPC “voted on all the projects and prioritized them.”
     Selectman Josh Degen reminded thae meeting that there is a Prescott Oversight Committee where he, Haddad, and Finance Committee Chairman Bid Robertson meet regularly to see how the Prescott plan is doing. Robertson said that right now the “taxpayers subsidize Prescott for $160K, and they will pay $20K. The protection for the third floor will allow us (Prescott) not to be subsidized.”
     Haddad stressed that in the third year of the lease, the Friends of Prescott said that they need the sprinkler to open up the third floor and to be self-sufficient, and not to have taxpayer subsidize it. If not, they can’t continue the lease which would be updated June 30, 2021.”
     While the FinCom voted unanimously to support the CPC request for Prescott sprinklers, not so the Select Board. They split their vote with members Becky Pine, Josh Degen and John Reilly voting in favor of support while Chairman Alison Manugian and John Giger voted not to support the warrant request.
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