Tisbury will begin assessing $1,000 a day against the contractor for the town’s troubled new emergency services building.
The town selectmen voted without dissent on Tuesday to begin charging penalties against Seaver Construction of Woburn, the general contractor for the Spring street project which has been plagued by an array of problems and is well behind schedule.
The contract between the town and Seaver allowed for the penalties if the project was not completed by July 9.
Yesterday Joe Tierney, the chairman of the town’s emergency service facility building committee, said the selectmen’s vote, made on the recommendation of his committee and on the advice of town counsel, means Seaver owes about $30,000 in penalties so far.
The company’s requisition for payment for July has not yet come in, he said, but the money will be deducted when it does.
A consultant’s report done for the town this spring found numerous shortcomings in the construction work on the $7.38 million project, ranging from misaligned foundations to buckled internal steel supports to incomplete insulation and vapor barriers to roof and drainage issues.
Work to remedy the problems has been under way all summer and has significantly delayed completion of the project. The building now is not expected to be done until November.
At the request of the selectmen on Tuesday, town administrator John Bugbee gave a breakdown of the amount spent to date on the project.
The lion’s share of the money has gone to Seaver.
“Seaver Construction so far has been paid $5,119,136. The total left is $2,260,863,” Mr. Bugbee reported.
The remainder sum includes the cost of fitting out the building, totalling about $238,000.
“We have enough money left to fund all the contracts that are in place,” Mr. Bugbee said.
But he said the figures he presented did not include the penalty provisions, allowing for liquidated damages of $1,000 per day for every day past July 9, or other potential damages for aspects of the building not completed to specification.
In other business, the selectmen were scrambling to fill the vacant position of emergency management director for the town.
Mr. Bugbee told them the vacancy could not have come at a worse time with the onset of the hurricane season, and that the position had been historically a difficult position to fill.
The town was in the same position last year, he said.
“Needless to say, this is a high priority,” Mr. Bugbee said.
The town has advertised for applicants twice, but had so far found no one. The position includes a $2,000 stipend.
In the interim, selectman Jeff Kristal volunteered to act in the role. He said he would not take the stipend.
Mr. Bugbee also said he had been contacted by one of the Oak Buffs selectmen, seeking help with animal control issues. The town currently has no animal control officer due to its financial straits.
Mr. Bugbee said Tisbury had a small amount of funding — about $14,000 — that had been designated for an assistant dog officer that has not been spent.
He suggested that if Oak Bluffs could put up a similar amount, someone could be hired to work part-time in Tisbury and full-time in Oak Bluffs.
Mr. Bugbee said he offered the suggestion for the board’s consideration. But it also amounted to the first real test of Tisbury’s commitment to sharing services with its neighboring town and to helping Oak Bluffs in its time of fiscal crisis, which selectmen previously advocated.
But Tisbury animal control officer Laurie Clements said she was not keen on the idea, for several reasons. For one, she said, she had more than enough to do in Vineyard Haven, and she wanted to keep the $14,000 so she would have the option of hiring someone, on a per diem basis, to help her out in her own town.
For another, it would mean any problem animals in Oak Bluffs would wind up coming to Tisbury, because the Oak Bluffs pound is in such poor shape.
After some discussion, the board went with Tristan Israel’s suggestion that the idea was worth further consideration, but not if it would end up costing Tisbury more money.
Selectmen also decided to adopt a new permit system to regulate parking behind the current fire station in town, which fire chief John Schilling previously has complained is being abused.
The space was intended for use by firemen and emergency responders, but others, including seasonal police and traffic officers, off-duty police and members of the public, have been using the spaces, leaving emergency responders with no place to park.