The contract for the Charlotte Library addition needed more work and wasn’t ready for discussion at the Charlotte Selectboard’s meeting on Monday, June 10, but the board did discuss the bond application to pay the town’s share of the construction costs.
Selectboard member Fritz Tegatz reported that there were many pages still to be reviewed with ReArch, the company that has been selected for the design and construction of the addition, and it was going to take more time to prepare a draft of the contract.
The selectboard decided to start its next regularly scheduled meeting on June 24 earlier, at 5:30 p.m. instead of 6 p.m., in order to go over the draft contract.
Tegatz said that he was confident that the almost $1.2 million cost of the project won’t be changed by the contract negotiations. At Town Meeting Day citizens approved a $700,000 bond for the library addition for a project then estimated at $1.4 million, so the plan now means the town’s portion is $100,000 less.
Town Clerk Mary Mead questioned the $1.2 million cost because it included other costs, such as furnishings ($25,000) and audiovisual ($1,250) that weren’t part of the actual construction.
“We took out significant amount of built-in cabinets that would be considered part of the construction and we replaced them with the potential of furnishings not only to save money but also to make it more flexible to use the space,” Tegatz explained.
Vice chair Frank Tenney also questioned some of the items included in the proposal, such as “the ceiling of the original building, the rug, the flooring, some of that stuff. Are you considering that part of the construction or is that part of renovating the old part and then you have the construction of the new part?” he asked.
Energy saving part of project
Part of the proposal for the construction of the library addition is to meet an energy-use goal, Tegatz said.
“In order to achieve that goal some work has to be done to the existing structure,” said Tegatz. “It’s not part of the new square footage of the building per se. It’s part of the goal of the entire building when completed to be energy efficient.”
By speakerphone, chair Matt Krasnow added, “That’s been an upfront piece of the addition of the library for over two years now.”
Krasnow and selectboard member Louise McCarren were both out of town and both participated in the library discussion via speakerphone.
“There’s a lot of questions with those numbers that are outside the construction of the addition,” said Christina Booher, assistant town clerk. She wondered if there would ever be enough detail to answer the necessary questions.
“Whether it’s a part of the RFP (request for proposals), whether it’s a part of the energy plan, that’s not how it was presented to voters,” Booher said.
“It will ultimately come down to RFPs,” Tegatz said.
He said that he thought that it would be more than $5,000 for fixtures and that would mean that there would be a written proposal.
From the list of things that aren’t part of the construction and design part of the proposal for the library addition, Tegatz mentioned such items as $10,000 for Division of Fire Safety permits and legal fees.
Another expense in the budget that isn’t strictly part of the construction expense is a “contingency allocation.” Tegatz said it covers the possibility of unforeseen problems that might arise when excavation work begins for a building’s foundation.
Tegatz said that he saw no reason that furnishings or audiovisual purchases would not be covered by the purchasing policy.
Recognizing library’s work
“We should recognize that the work of the library building committee and the bid review committee and the design-build process itself has got that number down by over $200,000,” said John Quinney, who is on the energy committee, which has been advocating for the addition to be energy efficient. “We also should recognize that the Friends of the Library is raising half of this money which is a town asset. The town is getting an asset which is half the price that’s required to build it.”
The selectboard unanimously approved a motion to issue a letter requesting a $600,000 bond for the town’s share of the library addition.
The selectboard decided to postpone the decision about the memorandum of agreement with the Library Board of Trustees and the Friends of the Charlotte Library in part because the actual numbers for budget for the library project had just come in that day.
The board also approved the Charlotte Recreation Commission’s requests to use the Town Beach on July 13 for the Charlotte Beach Party and on July 18, July 25 and Aug. 1 for Mozart at the Beach. The concerts are part of the Vermont Mozart Festival and are free, although there is a fee for parking.
Emergency tree removal
Charlotte’s Deputy Tree Warden Susan Smith came to the selectboard with an emergency request for an arborist to remove dead trees at the town beach.
“This has become an emergency, but what I’m wondering is it in the Recreation Commission’s purview to look at the Town Beach before now to make sure that it’s ready for the summer,” said Tenney.
Recreation Commission Chair Bill Fraser-Harris said that Recreation Director Nicole Conley had come to him about three weeks ago with concerns about dead trees that were overhanging the parking lot at the Town Beach.
Selectboard member Carrie Spear said that it was her understanding that Conley brought up the dead trees 8 or 10 months ago.
Fraser-Harris said that he has not been looking at trees and considering risk assessment, but now he will.
The emergency expenditure for the removal of the dead trees and safety pruning in the area was approved with three votes for and with Spear abstaining and Krasnow not voting because his phone connection had dropped off.
But there was also concern regarding where the money would come as it is not in the budget.
“You’re going to do deficit spending no matter where you go, Town Administrator Dean Bloch said, “but it’s near the end of the fiscal year.”