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Unexpected Repairs Signal Need For More Prescott Funds

by Connie Sartini

 

   The historic Prescott School faces the loss of insurance coverage unless there is emergency repair work done to the building’s electrical panel. DPW Director Tom Delaney told the Select Board that the latest numbers for the repair work came in at “under $10,000” to fix the system.

   Town Manager Mark Haddad stated, “The bottom line is that we need $10,000 to keep the building insured. We need to do this as landlords.” The building is under a three-year lease to the Friends of Prescott who offer a variety of classes, as well as provide oversight for the rental of office space, in addition to the rental of the school’s gymnasium.

   Delaney advised the Board that there have been other repairs done to the Prescott building including rails on the access stairs, and $700 for a boiler steam trap survey in order to figure out what parts are needed. The required parts’ cost came in at $14,000, half of which will be paid by National Grid.

   He added, “There is a great analogy to this building. It’s like the Country Club with repair after repair after repair. If it keeps happening, we will run dry. We don’t know all the things that are wrong there.”

   Acting Select Board Chairman Alison Manugian said she wanted to keep all the Prescott School-related expenses separate from the other municipal buildings so that it can be tracked.

   Haddad said that all the work done so far has been charged to the $62,000 that was earmarked for Prescott. Finance Committee member Bud Robertson asked, “How much was left in that account after the insurance and the $14,000 for landscaping?” Haddad responded that there was $30,000 left. Next year there will be an expenditure of $28,000 on two items. Robertson commented, “That number is staggering over what we thought.”

   Delaney stressed, “There are a lot of code issues. That came out of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) assessment.”  

   Manugian asked what Haddad was requesting. He responded that he needed the $9500 for the insurance and added,  “Regardless, we also need additional funds for the Prescott School for next year. This year, we funded the $62,000 from free cash.”

   Robertson pointed out that this was done as the funds were not for operational or on-going expenses. He added, that the “Friends fund $20,000 but we are spending more now.” Haddad noted, “We have pretty much expended the $62,000, with the landscaping starting at $14,000.”

   FinCom Chairman Gary Green suggested that there needs to be an updated plan for the next two years. He asked Delaney, “If we continue on this path for the next four or five years, would we need to replace the heating system?” Delaney suggested talking to an HVAC expert.

   He said that for the funds needed, “the reserve fund transfer won’t be enough. I propose we do this at this town meeting or in the fall and fund from Free Cash.”

   Delaney added that it should be done in the fall, because, “right now we don’t have a good handle on all that needs to be done.” 

   Select Board member John Giger stressed, “We should only be doing things that are essential for safety.”

   Following discussion, Haddad said he would work with Delaney on the issues and return to the Board next week with an itemized budget and decide whether to bring it forward to Town Meeting in the spring or the fall.

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