Recorder News Staff

FONDA — Progress is being made with projects going on at the Montgomery County Annex Building.

A budget transfer for Department of Public Works equipment replacements was approved by the Montgomery County Legislature on Wednesday. The transfer took $105,839 from the appropriated fund balance for the repairs at the annex building.

The building’s heating system cracked and was “deemed unrepairable” at the end of the 2016-17 heating season, according to the transfer resolution. The roof was also in need of repairs.

Legislators approved transfer 8-0. District 1 Legislator Martin Kelly was absent.

Department of Public Works Commissioner Eric Mead solicited bids for the project and selected a lowest bidder, Johnson Controls, with the cost not to exceed $73,250. According to the resolution, the annex building roof is also in immediate need of repair because of several leaks. A condition assessment was completed on the roof and determined the cost to repair will not exceed $32,589. The DPW is performing certain portions of the work, which will help reduce the cost by approximately $40,000.

District 9 Legislator Robert Purtell asked previously if the problem with the old boiler was cracks in some of the cast iron sections. He asked Mead if when this happened, they shortened the amount of sections in the boiler. Mead said yes, but this time they would have had to shorten the sections by another three at least and there wouldn’t have been enough BTUs, a unit used to measure heat, produced by the boiler to heat the building properly. He said the boiler was from 1952.

The boiler room has been undergoing asbestos abatement. Mead said Tuesday the work would wrap up the following day.

“My crew is doing the final cleaning of the room and air monitoring testing,” he said. “Once the air testing comes back negative, then we are free to start installing the boiler.”

Mead said if everything goes well, Johnson Controls can start Monday and work over the next couple weeks.

“Hopefully, I’ll hit my target date by Oct. 13 to have it running,” he said.

Mead said most of the roof work should also be completed this week.

“It was my recommendation to Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort and the county legislators that we get that handled all as one because the money that we had to put into the boiler,” he said. “If we are going to extend our stay into the annex building and be there for a few more years, there’s no sense of doing Band-Aid after Band-Aid. So we bit the bullet.”

Mead said it has been a pretty eventful first year for him after having been appointed DPW commissioner this past winter.

“I’m quite confident that our buildings are in pretty good mechanical order to go through the winter after the annex,” he said.