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Joyce Endee

Selectmen address maintenance issues at library and Libby Museum

Budget Committee review find increases default budget to $25,331,916

December 27, 2012
WOLFEBORO — Wolfeboro selectmen devoted a significant block of time at their Dec. 19 meeting discussing problems found recently at the Libby Museum and at the Wolfeboro Public Library.

Public Works Director Dave Ford had reported three problems with the Libby building at the board's Dec. 5 meeting: the front wall bowing, excessive moisture levels, and distressed ceiling titles. Since then Ford had engaged Carter Cincotta to erect staging and examine the ceiling and discussed the matter with former Libby Director Pat Smith. Smith led him to a report from 2,000 that documented that the moisture problem has been present since at least 1999 and recommended that the suspended ceiling be removed at the vaulted plaster ceiling underneath restored.

Ford said the building has an unusual ventilation system that draws air in the front of the building through a crawl space and then up the back wall into the main area. He suspects the ventilation path has been blocked, leading to the moisture problem. Selectman Dave Senecal said he went into the building in 1975-76 and cleaned out a lot of animals living there. The sill plates in front were covered to keep animals out and that may have blocked the flow.

Ford noted that the original ceramic tile roof has since been replaced with a metal roof. He reported no signs of the roof leaking.

Resident Bob Lemaire commented that the metal roof may be part of the moisture problem due to condensation.

Ford said that the building itself is "a real jewel" in very good shape, with no rot after 100 years. He recommended hiring a building scientist to looking into the venting problem, doing an electronic survey of the bowing of the front wall to see if it a major problem, and also consulting an historical architect on restoring the plaster ceiling. He suspects restoring the plaster ceiling could run to six figures and could not be done until 2014. Engineering and consulting fees could run to $30-40,000, he estimated.

Before reaching a decision on how to proceed the board turned to the issues with the library.

Library problems

Ford said the library building has always had a problem with leaks and there have been many patches applied over the years. The roof itself looks good but the leaks continue.

Library Director Cindy Scott said it always leaks in the break room and the restrooms but recently ther was a major leak in the front of the building that narrowly missed some artwork hanging there.

Scott went on to problems with the heating system, which dates from 1978. A motor seized up and the vacuum control system doesn't work. Parts are no longer available to fix it and the library has already spent $2,000 on service calls.

Rather than continue to cope with these problems Scott said the library would prefer to have a plan to fix them, ideally in a way where improvements would not be lost when a new library is built.

Ford said there was a $50,000 estimate on fixing the heating problem from 2005, and that might now cost $80,000. He said he has a $6,000 quote on evaluating both the roof and heating systems.

Lemaire, who had made an inspection of the building when he was on the Energy Committee, said there are two boilers in the building that are working well and it is unlikely both would fail. He suspects the ventilation system is jammed open and recommended focusing on that system because it may not be a big problem to upgrade the control system rather than replace anything else.

After some discussion it was agreed to add $6,000 to the library maintenance budget to cover any heating problems that might come up before March and to add a warrant article, Article U, that would fund evaluations of both the Libby and library buildings. The amount would stay open until firm evaluation costs are known.

Ford said he would be quotes on the cost of evaluations in time for the first meeting in January.

Default budget revision

Finance Director Pete Chamberlin submitted a revised Default Budget of $25,331,916. During the Operating Budget review by the Budget Committee a keying error was caught that led to health insurance costs being understated.

The Default Budget only comes into effect if voters reject the Operating Budget warrant article on the March ballot. It makes sure that necessary expenses and costs committed to by legal agreement are funded.

Other business

Selectmen voted unanimously to sign a resolution asking state representative to restore funding to the State Aid Grant program. Funding was cut in 2010 to close the budget gap even though the state has a statutory obligation under RSA 486 to fund it. The Town of Wolfeboro was not paid $159,120.54 in grants it was eligible to receive in 2012.

The board approved renewing the town's Boat Agent agreement with Goodhue & Hawkins Navy Yard to register boats in 2013. Since allowing Goodhue & Hawkins to register boats town revenue from that source has increased significant, according to Tax Collector Brenda LaPointe.

Selectmen adopted the Hazard Mitigation Plan Update approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and recommended by Fire-Rescue Chief Phil Morrill.

The board also adopted after a public hearing the updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps prepared by FEMA. The maps make residents in flood-prone areas eligible for the federal Flood Insurance Program.

Selectmen approved a reduction in the Milfoil budget for 2013 from $43,500 to $38,700 due to lower bids on chemical treatment. The final cost to the town will be $30,500 after deducting a state grant of $8,200.

Finance Director Chamberlin reviewed the monthly expenditure and revenue report through November. He said he foresees no major issues that would cause the town to go over budget by year end, although legal expenses, projected at $150,000, will be over budget.

Town Manager Owen reported that the town has received its first health insurance bill from SchoolCare for $116,000, down $14,586 or 11 percent from the last Local Government Center (LGC) bill. He also said the town received a $55,000 credit from the LGC as part of the settlement of past overbilling practices.

Owen noted that as part of the Dockside Restaurant building lease, the rent will go up 1.9 percent in 2013 based on the consumer price index.

Printing of the town report was awarded to The Country Press of Lakeville, Mass., for $3,201, the lower of the two bids received.

During public input resident Suzanne Ryan said the problems with the Libby should be a warning about renovating Brewster Memorial Hall. Based on her experience restoring old houses she said there are some things you just can't fix. "Look before you leap," she said.

The next meeting of the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen will be on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Wolfeboro Public Library meeting room.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
Garnett HIll
Varney Smith
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