Thursday May 16, 2013

GUILFORD -- Officials will undertake repairs at the Old Town Hall, where persistent leaks are causing a problem.

At the same time, Selectboard members also are considering establishing a program that would call for regular assessments of all town buildings in hopes of avoiding big, unexpected repair bills.

"It’s better to be proactive than reactive," Selectboard Chairman Dick Clark said.

The Old Town Hall on Guilford Center Road dates to the 1820s. It now serves as the home of Guilford Historical Society, but Clark said leaks in the entryway are "hard to find and hard to repair."

Town Administrator Katie Buckley said there is no need to replace the entire roof. Rather, officials expect to contract with a local resident to repair the slate roof above the entryway.

"We do have a person who we’ve used for that kind of work," Buckley said.

"It’s a beautiful old building that needs a little bit of TLC," she added. "So I’m hoping that we can do a needs assessment on it."

Buckley also is hoping that similar evaluations of other town buildings -- the current town office, the town garage and the library -- will be conducted regularly.

Selectboard members gave the approval for her to explore the idea. Buckley said she wants to inventory "what the conditions are, what the needs are, and then put a maintenance plan together" for all town-owned buildings.

In other business at Monday’s Selectboard meeting:

-- Selectboard members voted to try to sell a town-owned, handicapped-accessible van. The Dodge Ram 250 van had been purchased with the idea of transporting special-needs residents in the event of an emergency, officials said. But Clark said simply that the van "does not get used."

Buckley added that "it makes more sense for us to just sell it while it still has some value."

There was additional discussion about the town enlisting partners -- possibly Guilford Central School, for example -- to purchase a larger vehicle that could be used for multiple purposes. That would allow Guilford to "maximize resources" while providing other services, Buckley said.

"It might be worth looking into," she said.

-- The board voted to support Town Clerk Penny Marine in her efforts to continue to recover land records lost in a computer crash about a year and a half ago.

Marine said the crash forced her to track down the original land records, then re-scan them for the town’s records.

"It’s been a long, tedious process," she said.

Marine will use the town’s preservation fund to pay for the project, which involves hiring help to work with land records during times when the town office is not open for regular business.

"This is the recovery process to get the land records back in order," Marine said. "I need some help."

-- The board approved three new policies covering accounting, auditing and financial reporting; fraud prevention; and balanced budgets.

Buckley said such policies had been encouraged during the town’s annual audits and are "pretty standard" for municipalities.

-- Due to the Memorial Day holiday, Guilford’s next Selectboard meeting has been rescheduled to 6:30 p.m. May 29.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.