MILTON — The Town Board has awarded a $464,811 contract to repair the leaky Town Hall roof and mitigate mold damage, even as it separately tries to determine whether more work is needed due to a December water leak and the general aging of the building.
The board on Wednesday unanimously awarded the contract to Mid-State Industries of Schenectady, which submitted the lowest of four bids.
The award of the contract is the town’s first major step toward repairs at the Town Hall at the corner of Geyser Road and Rowland Street. Employees vacated the building on an emergency basis last March after it was determined mold caused by roof leaks was making people ill, even though it wasn’t toxic mold.
Since then, town government has operated from temporary offices in the town-owned Milton Community Center, to the consternation of many senior citizens, since the Ballston Area Senior Citizens previously had day-to-day control of the facility.
The Mid-State contract covers replacement of the existing roof with a new rubber membrane roof and drainage improvements around the building. A separate contract that has yet to be awarded will cover replacement of sheetrock walls and other internal fixtures damaged by the mold.
Town Supervisor Benny Zlotnick said he’s hopeful that roof work can start in late March and the town government will be able to move back into the building this summer. “I would hope we could all be back in our building by mid-July,” he said.
The Mid-State bid was lower than engineers had estimated, so Zlotnick said he is hopeful the town won’t have to spend the full $1 million the board had authorized the town to borrow to pay for Town Hall repairs.
Separately — and more controversially — the board awarded a $7,000 contract to town engineers M.J. Engineering and Land Surveyors to determine whether the building’s electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems were damaged by a late-December water pipe break inside the Town Hall, or if they are at the end of their useful life.
M.J. Engineering is being paid about $90,000 to design and oversee the roof replacement project, but its evaluation of internal building systems wasn’t included in that contract.
The broken water pipe occurred in late December, apparently because heat in the empty building was never turned on for winter, though the Town Board had discussed setting a 55-degree temperature inside. The responsibility for not following through on that decision remains disputed.
Joel Bianchi, director of municipal engineering for M.J. Engineering, said in addition to determing where the systems suffered water damage, the inspection will determine their general condition and if they need to be replaced. “Some of the systems are beyond their useful life and may be close to catastrophic failure,” he said.
Major repairs to or replacement of those systems aren’t included in the current Town Hall repair plans, which focus on mold remediation and on cleaning up the flood damage from the broken pipe. “We think most of the problems are in the carpeting and the basement,” Zlotnick said.