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Wolfeboro selectmen questioned about Brewster Hall plans

August 25, 2011
WOLFEBORO — During public input at the Aug. 17 Board of Selectmen's meeting Suzanne Ryan asked for a status report on a phasing plan for renovating Brewster Memorial Hall.

Ryan noted that the idea of doing the renovation work on the Town Hall building in phases, rather than as a single project, was first raised at the June 22 board meeting, and that a revised estimate on phasing from Northeast Collaborative Architects (NCA) had been expected at the June 29 meeting but did not arrive in time. She said she had seen a copy of a June 29 letter from NCA asking for a $2,500 deposit but nothing further.

Selectman Chair Sarah Silk responded that a report from NCA was not expected until the first meeting in September.

Ryan complained about the lack of public communication on the status of the project. She said she was concerned about misinformation arising from the lack of clear information.

Town Manager Dave Owen said that he had told Bob Lemaire that NCA would not be here until the Sept. 7 meeting.

Ryan said the June 29 letter mentioned that the town would no longer be seeking bonding for the project. No one responded to that statement.

Ryan then asked if the NCA consultation was limited to $5,000. Owen confirmed that it was.

Following the meeting this reporter requested and received a copy of the June 29 letter from NCA. Written by John Grosvenor and addressed to Owen, the letter does contain the sentences, "We understand that the town of Wolfeboro is no longer seeking bond referendum approval for the Town Hall improvements, but is now contemplating seeking funds through annual warrant appropriations and will phase the project into discrete tasks that will be done over a number of years rather than all at once. This approach comes with a cost penalty in that the contractors will have to remobilize for every phase and there will be an extra premium fee for both start up and closeout of each of the phases….but at least the desperately needed work will get done."

The letter confirms that $5,000 is the "stipulated sum" for the services, which include creating "a schedule matrix with the associated design costs for the phased projects."

The letter also brings up the fact that the proposal made last March involved a "design build" approach where the contractor provides final designs and specifications for certain work. This approach resulted in "a missing component (the mechanical engineering design work with the associated architectural coordination) that must be completed before the set is put out to bid." The cost of providing the missing component will be included in the estimates NCA will provide.

Wolfeboro selectmen have placed developing a renovation plan for Brewster Hall at the top of their 2011-12 priorities.

Other business

Finance Director Pete Chamberlin reviewed his Monthly Expenditure and Revenue Reports for the year through July. With 58.3 percent of the year passed, the overall expended to date percentage is 54.5 percent. The two budget area of concern highlighted by Chamberlin were the Public Works Garage at 66.5 percent expended due to higher diesel fuel and gasoline costs (which Public Works Director Dave Ford is offsetting under a plan approved by the board), and Welfare at 61.3 percent expended to date. At this time last year the Welfare budget was 79 percent expended.

On a positive note Chamberlin reported that the Aug. 1 reduction in pension payment percentages should save approximately $20,000 against budget for all employees other than fire and police.

After a public hearing selectmen voted to accept gifts of $10,000 from the Land Bank of Wolfeboro-Tuftonboro, Inc. and $5,000 from David Bowers for the Conservation Commission to use to complete Front Bay Park. Commission Chair Mike Hodder said the park will be the only one on Lake Winnipesaukee that is completely accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Also approved was a donation to the Libby Museum of a mounted polar bear valued at $7,000 from Thompson Arms of Rochester.

Selectmen approved transferring the Landing Permit for the Millie B power tour boat from the Eatons to the New Hampshire Boat Museum. The museum purchased the replica 28-foot HackerCraft on July 1 and plans to continue running it as before.

The board granted a temporary event permit to the Eastern Lakes Region Housing Coalition to hold a Rubber Duck on Oct. 8 from 9 to 10 a.m. starting at the Crescent Lake Dam and finishing at the Wolfeboro Falls dam.

Town Manager Owen reported that a planned power outage took place at 5 a.m. on Aug. 17 to assess the damage caused by vandalism at Substation #2 on Filterbed Road. A claim has been filed with the town's insurer for the estimated $40,000 cost of repairs.

Owen advised the board that the town's electric rates will be reviewed on Sept. 21. "It may be good news," he said.

Nonprofit agencies seeking funds from the town will also come before the board on Sept. 21 as part of the 2012 budget process.

Selectman Linda Murray reported that a second round of milfoil harvesting will take place on Sept. 6-9 and Sept. 12-15. A tour of Back Bay revealed that milfoil patches are significantly less thanks to aggressive harvesting.

The next meeting of the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen will be Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting room of the Wolfeboro Public Library.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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