Grafton Select Board mulls Town Office repair bids, new town garage

By Shawn Cunningham
@The Chester Telegraph – 2014

The Grafton Select Board opened bids for repairs to the town offices at its Tuesday, Nov. 3 meeting, but the project ended up back on the table when one of the bids failed to include major portions of the work.

The town received two bids for the work, which is to consist of repairs of water damage at the rear of the building including siding, replacing a window in the Post Office, working on old windows to tighten them for energy savings, installing a water filter for the well and repairing and replacing rotten wood.

Board member Noralee Hall opened the envelopes beginning with the bid from Darlton Cenate & Sons of Springfield for $11,910. The second bid – from All Seasons Construction of Springfield – was itemized and not totaled. Town administrator Rachel Williams added the items and announced a total of $4,434.

“Something’s wrong,” said one of the 13 in attendance. “They had to miss something,” said another as board members compared the two bids. Board member Gus Plummer noted that a lot of the specifications for the project were left out, including the siding and water filter.

Board chair Skip Lisle asked if the town should give All Seasons a chance to add to its bid. “The other bid is already open,” came a response from the floor. Williams noted that she had walked through the project with both bidders and that both received identical spec sheets. Hall asked if the $11,000 figure from Cenate “sounded in line.” Plummer responded that it did.

The board decided to table the project while Plummer looks at the bids and speaks with both contractors, asking for final numbers where All Seasons had listed an hourly rate. According to Williams, “If the bids had included final numbers, the board could have accepted one last night.”

Also under consideration was the construction of a new town garage, which was made necessary by damage done to the current garage by Tropical Storm Irene. The new town garage will relocate from along the south branch of the Saxtons River on Route 121 south of the village north, to Tom Bell Road, which is off Fisher Hill Road. According to Williams, initial bids for the new structure exceeded the budget and an engineer is currently working with the lowest qualified bidder to find ways to adjust the project down.

Town garage committee member Al Sands urged the board to “think about what to do with the old town garage.” He noted that one party in town had expressed an interest in the garage, but putting it up for bids would allow people to find uses for the building or turn it into green space. Noting that the assessed value of the property is $110,000, Sands said that selling the garage “could make the difference in whether the (new) town garage goes forward.”

The disposal of town property would need to go before Grafton’s voters in a town meeting.

During public comment, resident Liisa Kissel announced that there would be a meeting to discuss economic sustainability facilitated by Susan McMahon of the Windham Regional Commission at the Grafton Elementary School from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10.

The select board adjourned the meeting at 6:31 p.m.  The next Grafton Select Board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17 at Grafton Elementary School.

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