TIVERTON — It may have been the chairperson of the Tiverton Budget Committee who said, “the only issue is the roof,” as the committee approached its final vote on the final night of the budget process, and approval of the capital budget it intended to put to the voters on May 21 at the Financial Town Referendum (FTR).
After some debate, the committee voted 6-5 to re-roof the southern half of the roof of Fire Station #2 at 85 Main Road (for $21,000), and put off until the succeeding year’s budget the cost, and task, of replacing the other half of the roof, at whatever the cost will be at that time..
The committee appeared sharply divided on the question.
On one side of the Budget Committee’s debate was the figure of $35,000 that had been recommended to it by the Town council for the whole roof, although there was some confusion about exactly what kind of roofing job the council contemplated.
There was nothing in writing, and some believed the council had in mind what’s called an “overlay,” just the placing of new roofing material over the old.
There may have been others — it was never made clear — who thought the council had in mind instead a stripping-down of the entire old roof and its replacement with a complete new roof for the whole building, an approach that would fix or replace any rot or deterioration discovered.
On the other side of the debate was the approach put forth in the provisional budget committee proposal, of $21,000 for half a roof.
As the debate swung back and forth, Bob Martin stepped forward from the audience to make an offer. He’s the maintenance foreman for the town, knows the town’s roofs well, and attends budget committee meetings.
“I’m here to make a proposal tonight,” he said. “I’m very comfortable with $25,000 to do the whole roof — strip the roof, put all the flashing it needs, ice and water shields.”
He said the job would have to be bid, he’d write the specs, but he’s gotten several informal estimates for about $25,000.
“If it comes in over $25,000, I will personally pay for the difference, that’s how confident I am,” he told the Budget Committee
No one took Mr. Martin up on his offer, and it went nowhere.
Minutes later, by the close one-vote margin, the Budget Committee decided to recommend $21,000 to the voters, as the budgeted figure to fix half the roof.
The majority plan was to do the other half of the roof next year out of next year’s budget, assuming the budget committee next year feels the same way.
As Joe Souza, the principal proponent of the $21,000 figure — and the half-a-roof-now strategy — explained it later, “half roofs are done all the time.”
The south-facing side of the roof will be completely stripped and done first this year, he said. It will not be an “overlay” job. Then next year the other half will be done. It will spread the higher cost for the entire roof over two years, he said. This way, he said “we’ll get all the roofs done that need it.”