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Police and fire facilities projects continue

Town seeks to muffle ventilator noise at Central Fire Station

BRATTLEBORO—Of the three police and fire facilities seeing work this year, one building is gone, another is almost finished, and the third needs some unanticipated improvements. Town Manager Peter B. Elwell went over the projects’ details at the Nov. 7 regular Selectboard meeting.

The Central Fire Station on Elliot Street is in its final month of construction, Elwell said. The work is still going well, he said, but with one exception. His office has received complaints from neighbors about noise from ventilators on the new section of the building.

This equipment, he said, is “closer to residences than [it] was before.”

Town employees confirmed this system noise, Elwell said, and “we’re working on how to properly muffle those sounds and not have a negative impact on the neighborhood.”

The old West Brattleboro Fire Station has been demolished, Elwell said. Now, crews are working on drainage, lighting, landscaping, and transforming the site into a new parking lot. He expects this project to be finished before winter.

Since the previous Selectboard meeting, Elwell approved some small expenses, mostly related to outfitting the new police station at 62 Black Mountain Road.

Elwell noted he and his staff recently adjusted the uncommitted balance portion of the project’s finances after they discovered an accounting error. He and his staff conducted a careful review and made the correction. The net result is that the uncommitted balance, which he previously reported as $416,369.34, is really $291,826.44.

In a memorandum from Elwell’s office dated Nov. 1, he explains, “That adjustment included an encumbrance that should have been re-categorized as ‘paid’ rather than as ‘unencumbered.’”

Although Elwell pointed out the adjustment “indicates we have less flexibility” than before the adjustment, there is still more money in the uncommitted balance than is needed for two upcoming significant project expenses: a new roof and a carport at the new police station.

Estimates on the two items are $90,000 for the roof and $150,000 for the carport.

“We’re managing every penny,” said Elwell, and he and his staff will “make sure we finish this project with some funds left over from the bond.”

In reviewing the upcoming police station projects, Elwell and his staff will meet with the Police-Fire Facilities Committee to get their recommendations to the Selectboard on how to proceed, and where to use the uncommitted balance “to finish the job,” he said.

“We’ve been talking month-to-month about those [expenses] here and in project management [meetings] about the necessity to wait until we got to the very end of the job to make sure that there were sufficient funds available before making those decisions,” said Elwell, who added, “we’re just about at that moment now.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #434 (Wednesday, November 15, 2017). This story appeared on page A3.

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