Featured, Local News

Covid contributes to Killington’s Public Safety Building budget set-back

By Polly Mikula
An extra water tank costing $50,000 was installed at the Public Safety Building to meet state mandates for capacity.

By Curt Peterson

As first responders, including firemen, search and rescue and police, begin moving into Killington’s new Public Safety Building, the Select Board is sorting through final bills and funding.

At a special meeting on Oct. 27 Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth told selectmen project costs have exceeded the expectation by more than $400,000 for non-building surprises to date, that balance is after receiving at least $300,000 (the minimum bid) through the future sale of the existing Fire House.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) of purchase has been issued, and Haff said he has heard from some interested parties asking about acceptability of their plans for the building.

“As a board, we are not exercising discretion over who can occupy the building or for what purpose,” Haff said. “Any proposed use will have to be reviewed and approved by the zoning administrator.”

RFP are due by noon Nov. 6 and the Select Board anticipates reviewing the proposals at a meeting on Nov. 10.

“The Select Board intends to select the the proposal which provides the best value for the town,” according to the official RFP.

What added costs?

Early testing indicated minimum underground ledge issues, but as the project moved forward much was found. Unanticipated blasting has cost the town an additional $212,000 and ate up the construction clock.

The Covid-19 pandemic is to blame for some of the overrun, according to Hagenbarth. Pandemic-related delays threatened an additional four months’ interest cost, and $161,000 was invested in warming the ground and materials so work could move forward.

“Delays caused by the shut-down cost us $55,000,” he said. “We hope to be able to recoup $25,000 of that from Covid relief funds, and we may be able to get the entire $55,000.”

The well seemed more than adequate, producing 55 gallons/minute, but the Division of Fire Safety requires at least 50% of that flow when all water appliances – sinks, toilets, showers, equipment cleaning hoses, etc. – are in use at the same time. To comply, an 800-gallon tank and pump costing $50,000 were installed.

In addition to what was anticipated in the original building plans, Hagenbarth asked the selectmen’s authority to purchase unanticipated extras amounting to around $113,000. Of those a specialized locking and alarm systems, connecting to a sophisticated radio system and some air cleansing equipment are mandated by the state.

“We really don’t have a choice about buying those,” Hagenbarth told the board Tuesday.

Haff made a motion to authorize the additional $113,000, which the board approved unanimously.

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