This file photo shows construction on the Putney Fire Department in 2005. (Reformer file photo)
This file photo shows construction on the Putney Fire Department in 2005. (Reformer file photo)
Friday December 28, 2012

PUTNEY -- The town's long running problem with the fire station roof could be headed for the courts, and taxpayers might have to find the money to repair the structure.

Putney only put up its new fire station six years ago, but Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard told the Selectboard recently that the roof needs to be replaced.

According to Stoddard, Wesfield Construction, the general contractor for the project, has been back at the site to re-nail the shingles as they have been blowing off.

But Travis Slade of River Valley Roofing inspected the roof recently and he says the roof needs to be replaced.

The project could cost up to $50,000 and now the Selectboard is considering getting an attorney involved.

And Stoddard said she is building the 2014 budget with a possibility that the town might have to come up with some of the money to pay for the roof repair.

"Right now we don't what we are gong to do," Stoddard said. "No one is making a decision right now. We are trying to figure it out."

Town meeting members approved the project in 2005, and the building went up in early 2006.

But almost from the start the town had to contend with issues with the roof shingles.

When Slade got up on the roof recently he found that the laminated shingles were not nailed down correctly. He did not find a single nail on the line that they were supposed to be on and the shingles have been blowing off in the wind.

Slade said there might be some water and ice damage and he recommended that the roof be replaced. He said the existing roof can not be repaired.

Stoddard said the roof was supposed to last up to 30 years.

According to notes from the Dec. 12 Selectboard meeting, the town is going to contact Wesfield Construction and "unless they agree to replace the roof we would have to take legal action."

"We talked to the contractor but they have not reopened yet," Stoddard said. "We have to wait to see what they will say."

When the fire station was built the Putney Selectboard got Landmark College, the Putney School, the Grammar School and Greenwood School to contribute payments in lieu of taxes to help finance the $980,000 fire station.

The schools cover about 90 percent of the financing, annually, but Stoddard said it is unclear how the financial contributions would affect any future costs the town might have to take on to repair the roof.

Stoddard said she hopes to have the issue somewhat resolved before Town Meeting.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com.