Library addressing window repairs
Heeding Island Free Library Director Kristin Baumann’s directive that the library’s leaking windows require “urgent” attention, the Board of Trustees agreed at its Oct. 16 meeting to budget $80,000 for the repairs. In order to fund the project, the library is submitting a capital budget request to the Town of New Shoreham for fiscal year 2020 in the amount of $30,000, since it already has $50,000 available in its budget to address the window repairs.
Baumann said the library could schedule its needed roof repairs for a later date and allocate $25,000 budgeted for roof maintenance, and $11,000 for side entrance repairs to fund the window repairs. She noted that $15,000 was allotted in last year’s budget for the library’s building maintenance, which in total adds up to about $50,000 that could be dedicated to the project.
“So the ask would only be $30,000,” Baumann said to The Times after the meeting. “We only need that amount for our 2020 capital request in order to finance the window repairs/replacements.” Baumann said three windows on the first floor had already been repaired, but the second floor windows have “worrisome leaks” that require “urgent attention.”
Chair Shirlyne Gobern said that a contractor estimated that the window repairs would cost roughly $70,000.
“That was a ballpark figure,” said Baumann, who remarked that, “I think we should be asking for funding for the windows.” Baumann noted that the roof was 17 years old, and town Facilities Manager Sam Bird told her that “roofs are not indefinite,” and will need attention in the near future.
“Some of the windows are leaking, which sounds to me like the most critical thing to do,” said Treasurer William Feuer, who noted that the town has a new policy aimed at building maintenance.
Baumann and the Trustees agreed to “keep the roof on the radar.” That’s when they did the math, calculating what was in the budget, and arrived at the $50,000 that was available for the window repairs. The Trustees decided that the window repairs should not be done piecemeal, which would be more costly in the long run.
“If we don’t do it now we’re going to have to pay a lot more later,” said Trustee Dave Sniffen. “The town has to get onboard with this one.”
“Sam Bird is already worried about that,” said Baumann.
“And he is the one who will be putting the project out to bid within the next 12 months,” said Gobern.
Trustee Lisa Nolan said, “Alright, let’s do it.”
“That would be my recommendation,” said Feuer.
“Capital requests are due on Oct. 26,” said Baumann.
Clerk Heidi Tarbox said she would draft the capital budget request, and submit it to town Finance Director Amy Land.
The Five Berrigans
In other news, Dave Sniffen, who also serves as director of the town’s Recreation Department, told the Trustees that five participants in the half-marathon on Oct. 7 were members of the Berrigan family. Father Daniel Berrigan was a noted priest and peace activist during the Vietnam War, who spent time on Block Island. The library featured an exhibit honoring Berrigan during the late summer and into the fall of 2017.
Sniffen said all of the Berrigans were related to Daniel Berrigan, and participated in the event partly because of the exhibit at the library. “They were very happy with the library’s exhibit. They wore shirts that said, ‘Berrigan’s crew,’ and they all finished the half-marathon.”
“We saw them on Saturday in the library,” said Baumann. “I saw them last year at some of the exhibit’s programs.”
“It was unsolicited praise,” remarked Sniffen. “They didn’t know that I had any connection to the library exhibit at all. So it was pretty cool.”
The next library Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 6 p.m.