Council Approves Repairs to Police Station, South Fire Station

The Town Council voted to spend $78,575 from the Expendable Maintenance Trust Fund for two projects – replacement of a Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) unit atop the police station, and another to repair and paint wood trim at the south fire station.

The HVAC project costs $75,175, the fire station work totals $3,400.
Police Chief William Hart said the HVAC unit has been in “near failure for the better part of some months. It has been a troubled unit since we opened the building just over nine years ago. We initially looked to replace just the rooftop unit but as it turned out, because of the complexity of the system, we also had to look at our control panel.”
Hart said they contacted various contractors and the contractor normally used in the past, Control Technology, did not wish to bid.
“There was another contractor for reasons of their own did not want to participate in the process and we have been dealing with SAM Mechanical,” he said. “They have tended over the last 18 months or so to be the cheapest bid.”
Hart said it first appeared the control panel had to be replaced for a total cost of $120,000, but working with staff, it appears now that the panel can remain.
“We will replace the way the HVAC system works, with an accent on being more energy conscious going forward, so not only did we get the price down, we think we’re also going to save on costs as we go forward in terms of electricity used,” Hart said.
Councilor Jim Butler asked if there were problems with the unit from day one and Hart said yes.
Hart said two separate units would be used, with one handling the three rooms involving computers and the other for the rest of the building.
Councilor Joe Green suggested it might be better to purchase an extended warranty, and Chairman John Farrell said several factors are involved with failing units.
“One is that the contractor says that the unit was inferior, another is that the contractor can say that the unit wasn’t properly used or maintained – it can be that they just didn’t do a good job or it can be that there is the issue that it was a low bid,” Farrell said. “So you have all these pieces here, so what we have to do going forward is that we sit back and say ‘let’s do what’s right.’”
Green suggested blacklisting in-house the contractors who do inferior work.
Councilor Tom Freda asked why they were asking to be exempted from the three bid requirement, and Hart said that was because contractors that they had worked with before chose not to bid, and given the town’s history with SAM Mechanical, he thinks that company is the appropriate choice.
The Council voted unanimously to expend the funds.
Regarding the fire station repairs, Town Manager Kevin Smith noted that the south station was built in 2006 and the town has replaced areas of rotted finger-jointed trim with PVC or cement board material.
“To prevent the remaining exterior trim from needing replacement, we need to perform preventative maintenance,” he said, noting the funding request covers labor, materials, and a lift truck to scrape caulk and paint the exterior.

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