The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 8, 2010

Town plans long-term capital outlays

Carlisle School, cranberry house requests considered

“I tried to come in with just absolutely what we need to keep it reasonable,” began Carlisle School Superintendent Marie Doyle at the December 16 Long-Term Capital Requirements Committee (LTCRC) Meeting. For Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11), the requests amount to a total of $105,000, consisting of $80K for technology replacement and $25K for maintenance.

“The separate building project section of the request is everything that we are going to try and roll into the building project at 40% reimbursement,” continued Doyle. In addition to replacing Spalding, estimated to cost $12 million, $8 million will provide repairs and repurposing of other buildings. After some discussion, LTCRC decided to fund only the $25K for annual maintenance and to ask the building committee to place two years of technology replacement ($160K) into the building project. If the building project is not approved, members agreed to put a placeholder in FY12 for two years of funding ($160K). “Whether we can afford this in 2012 is a whole other issue,” said member Thornton Ash.

“We’ve been allocated $80,000 in stimulus money for both this year and maybe next,” said Doyle. Some of this money can be used toward information technology (IT) if the building project is not approved. The FY10 IT funding (another $80K) has yet to be spent, and Doyle plans to roll it over into FY11. It has already been approved and so it can provide some buffer depending on building project approval. Then if the building project with the extra $160K is approved, the FY12 LTCRC technology replacement funding goes to zero.

Cranberry Bog House repairs

Debby Geltner, a member of the Land Stewardship Committee (LSC is a subcommittee of the Conservation Commission), introduced herself to the LTCRC members and said, “We’re here today to talk about the cranberry house.” Seated beside her was Sylvia Willard, Conservation Administrator. “The Town of Carlisle bought the cranberry bog in 1986 and it’s comprised of 151 acres of conservation land, a cranberry house and an operating cranberry bog,” continued Geltner. “It’s the northernmost commercial operating cranberry bog in Massachusetts.”

“The cranberry house was built in 1905, so it’s an old structure,” said Geltner, “and it needs some serious repairs.” Mark Duffy of Carlisle Cranberries, Inc. currently holds a lease on the agricultural portions of the cranberry bog conservation land until June 2015. This lease gives him the right to use the first and second floors of the bog house. Separate three-year lease agreements allow Duffy the use of the third floor apartment. “It’s really important to have a presence in the house because of vandalism,” added Willard.

Considerable repair is necessary to provide required safety and security for the tenants. Failure to complete code-related repairs might lead to personal injuries and significant legal liability and possibly a requirement that tenants vacate the apartment. Some structural deficiencies, such as rotted posts, cracked beams and joists, and powder post beetle infestation need immediate attention.

In the fall of 2008, the LSC provided a list of needed repairs to two contractors and received, from each, a budgetary estimate of the requested repairs. Paul’s Home Repairs estimated they would cost $102,000, while J.J. Supple Construction estimated the repairs at $122,000. Further inspections of the bog house by a barn restorer, a structural engineer and two pest control companies uncovered additional repairs that needed to be made at a cost of approximately $24,200. Adding this to an average of the 2008 estimates ($112,000) plus a 20% contingency ($27,240) brings the total to $163,440 that ConsCom is asking from Long-Term Caps.

“From a budget perspective, the only way this gets funded is through CPA money or as a separate warrant item,” observed LTCRC chair Don Rober. Member Thornton Ash responded, “I would put it straight to the town - Finance Committee (FinCom), Selectmen, CPA, and Town – do we value this more than Highland?” Other members worried about legal liability issues “and the cost incurred if no action is taken,” added Willard.

“How can we move forward on this and what can we possibly do, because it’s not going to go away?” asked Geltner. “We need help in getting before these committees [Selectmen, FinCom].” Ash offered to help in getting through the process and summed it up by saying, “We recommend that you go forward. We support you getting a fair hearing and think the town owes you an up or down answer.” ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito