Sewer line, roof repairs get OK

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Selectmen last week voted to use surplus funds to extend a sewer line along the Freeman Ridge Road and repair a section of the roof on the town-owned building leased by Harbor House.

This was the third time the proposal to extend the sewer line had gone before the board. Previous attempts were met with concerns about funding. Town Manager Don Lagrange’s recent estimate that there is nearly $412,000 in unused funds from the 2015-2016 fiscal year budget made the selectmen’s decision at their Aug. 9 meeting a little easier.

Selectmen voted 4-1 to expend up to $125,000 to install a sewer line along 1,675 feet of the Freeman Ridge Road between the Seal Cove Road and the south side of Ridge Acres Lane.

John W. Goodwin Jr. Construction is to do the work for $117,000 in conjunction with a paving project already in the works. Proponents of the sewer project have argued that it only makes sense to install the line at the same time.

One unknown in the Goodwin bid is how much bedrock will have to be removed. The company has estimated the cost of breaking up and removing ledge at $275 per cubic yard. The additional $8,000 approved by selectmen is intended to cover removal costs.

Selectman Lydia Goetze had reservations about the plan, saying she didn’t recall the sewer line being listed as a priority by the Southwest Harbor Water and Sewer District. Chairman Tom Benson agreed but still advocated for the project.

“It’s not a priority; it’s an opportunity,” Benson said.

Selectmen Dan Norwood and George Jellison also were in favor.

“I would be for doing it,” Norwood said. “I think it’s a missed opportunity if we didn’t.”

Selectman Chad Terry cast the opposing vote. Terry said he didn’t think the town should pay for infrastructure improvements that benefit the water and sewer district, which took over operations of those utilities from the town in January.

Selectmen also unanimously approved spending up to $60,000 to demolish and rebuild a section of the Harbor House roof using manufactured roof trusses with supervision by an engineer.

Harbor House leases the century-old structure for $1 a year. The structural issue surfaced in February after the town’s insurance carrier, concerned about a sag in the roof found during an inspection, raised the deductible on the building from $1,000 to $10,000. That action prompted town officials to hire Pete Carroll of Maine Coast Engineering to propose a solution.

Carroll concluded the rafters in that section of the roof are “inadequate” to support the design snow load of 39 pounds per square foot. He offered three solutions.

The first was to replace that section of roof entirely using trusses. The second solution would be to use traditional rafters instead of trusses.

Both, Carroll wrote in his report, would have a 75-year lifespan except for the shingles, which would need replacement every 20 years, and have an estimated cost of $50,000.

The third option would be to install new rafters and cross ties without disturbing the existing roof at a cost of about $26,700. This option would not eliminate the sag in the roof but would keep the exterior walls in that area from further spreading apart.

Ingrid Wilbur Kachmar, executive director of Harbor House, told town officials that other arrangements could be made for use of the room directly under that section of roof while work was underway. She urged quick action.

Selectmen agreed that the quickest and best solution is to go with the first option and use manufactured trusses. The board approved spending up to $10,000 more than the estimated cost of construction to cover Carroll’s fee to supervise construction and any other expenses.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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