FARMINGTON — Selectmen at the meeting on Tuesday evening, Feb. 13, heard Community Center roof restoration updates and discussed alternative uses for American Rescue Plan Act funds in case the roof project does not meet required deadlines.

Matthew Foster, director of parks and recreation has talked with different companies, only one has given prices. They are significantly less than when put out to bid, he noted.

In October, selectmen rejected two bids, each almost $2.5 million for the roof project. It was the second time the project had gone out to bid.

The company estimated it would cost $1.7 million to replace the roof, what it called “the mile high fly over price,” Foster noted. The same company gave a price of $900,000 to build a new roof over the existing one, he said.

The latter option hasn’t been cleared by the engineers, conversations still need to be had, Foster stated.

Two other companies Foster is talking with haven’t prepared prices, he said.

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“I was happy to hear some lower numbers,” he said. Foster thought quotes this year could be even better as it appears the country is headed into an economic downturn. Companies could be more hungry for work, some are laying people off which could be good news for the town, he noted.

“The last two years we have had all the ARPA money funneling into construction,” Town Manager Erica LaCroix said. “That is drying up now. There was so much work to be had that the wait list was very long.”

Foster said the roof issue came up when he received a $155,000 Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) grant for upgrades to the Community Center related to elections – making it easier for people to vote – that would have included an HVAC system to heat, cool and ventilate the entire building. The roof wouldn’t support the system, so $79,530.51 of the funds had to be returned, he reported in 2021.

The gym where voting takes place sometimes rises above 90 degrees, it is illegal to have people there when that happens, Foster said Tuesday.

He noted the company that has submitted bid estimates can’t start work until October. Foster said it might be advantageous to put the work off until summer 2025. To use ARPA funds, the contract must be signed by Dec. 31, there are two years after that for the work to be done, he stated.

Lacroix said she was encouraged companies were seriously looking at the roof project which gave hope for ARPA funds being used for the project. “If we can’t make this happen, I want to be looking at what other options there are for us to use ARPA funds,” she stated.

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ARPA funds can’t be used by the town to lower the budget, give raises, a couple of other things, LaCroix noted. She proposed investing in things that went towards emergency and storm preparedness. She expected to see more storms like the one in December.

“What types of things do we need to be doing to make ourselves more resilient,” LaCroix asked. Possibilities she shared included infrastructure and adaptations. “There are plenty of resources at the state level that we can be pulling into,” she noted.

In February 2022, selectmen voted to use remaining ARPA funds for the Community Center roof. Farmington is receiving just under $820,000. The board had already approved about $93,000 for hazard pay and $4,800 for a broadband study.

When asked, LaCroix confirmed the Community Center roof project would not affect this year’s budget which ends Dec. 31.

Foster will provide further updates to the board once he has more information.


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