As the troubled Tisbury emergency services facility finally nears completion, the town selectmen were frustrated this week to learn of additional charges to a project already over budget.
On Tuesday emergency services facility building committee chairman Joe Tierney told selectmen that the town owed the architectural firm and project manager HKT an additional $21,000 for work related to problems with the building’s envelope. Selectman Tristan Israel reacted less than favorably.
“My issue to be quite blunt is that we paid HKT to watch our building and they want more money,” he said.
“When things started going bad with the envelope they had to do additional investigation,” Mr. Tierney explained.
Selectmen provisionally approved the amount pending approval from town administrator John Bugbee, who was absent. On Wednesday Mr. Bugbee said he would give the request a careful review.
“Through the course of this construction project HKT has felt like they’ve had to go far beyond what would normally be expected of them if this was a typical project, therefore they submitted a bill for additional services, meaning services rendered outside of the contract and services that they didn’t budget for but that they provided based on the way the project went. So we’ve been negotiating with them on what we think those additional services are worth. Last night the selectmen discussed a number but it’s still kind of up for debate,” Mr. Bugbee said.
“It has been a bone of contention in that I think the town has some serious concerns about paying for bills that they were not aware of up front and were handed to them after the work had been done. That’s why we have to sit down and discuss the bills rather than just paying them outright. What I’m going to do is go back through the numbers, take my pencil to it and go back to HKT and see if they’re amenable to the number that I come up with.”
While Mr. Bugbee was unable to provide an exact figure on Wednesday, he said the building’s original $7.38 million budget had likely grown closer to $7.6 million.
Two weeks ago selectmen approved over $70,000 in change orders to the building, including money to raise a manhole cover that had been paved over. Those funds came from a line item for sewering in the building’s budget that was $100,000 under budget. In October selectmen voted to assess general contractor Seaver Construction of Woburn $18,162.50 for damages and delays in the project.
On Tuesday Mr. Tierney reassured selectmen that the building, originally scheduled to be completed in July, would be finished in at least a month.
“I did a tour about a week ago and I know we’ve had our issues but it’s a very impressive building, and in the end we’ll have a facility that we’re very proud of,” said Mr. Israel.
In other business, selectmen were asked to sponsor a grant application from the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society to the National Endowment for the Arts. Film society president Richard Paradise is hoping to build a new state-of-the-art, 190-seat theatre off Beach Road in a building planned by developer Sam Dunn. The project is under review by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.
Mr. Israel declined to support the grant application without first hearing from Mr. Paradise in person.
“I think what Richard does is great and I’m all for supporting a nonprofit effort,” Mr. Israel said. “I’m not sure that at this time I’m supportive of the location and scope of that center.”
Mr. Bugbee said this week that the grant, which would be for between $25,000 to $100,000 would only go to support the society and would not be able to be used for the construction of the theatre itself.
Selectmen also heard from Sandy Pachico, a commercial fisherman, who expressed his frustration with current commercial scallop regulations. The regulations restrict a single boat to two permit holders each taking their daily limit. Mr. Pachico would like to amend the regulations to allow one boat to allow four permit holders land to their daily limit in separate trips. He said as the regulations are currently written he would need to buy another boat for his family members to go out scalloping on the same day.
Shellfish committee chairman Steve Bacelli said the regulation is in place for a reason.
“All our regulations are tied into some kind of conservation or control as to what comes out of the pond,” he said. “You say what’s the difference if four boats get one limit or one boat gets four. That’s not much of a difference. The difference comes on the other end. Because now you’re allowing those same four boats to get quadruple limits. That’s an extra 24 bushels a day, 120 bushels a week. That’s just if four boats do it. In my opinion that’s a lot of stuff coming out of a small pond.”
Selectmen voted to hold a public hearing on the matter on March 20.