NEWFANE -- A long-awaited renovation project may soon commence at the town office, but officials have less money to spend than they originally thought.
As Selectboard members and those serving on a Town Office Committee opened bids for work on the building's basement area and attic, they also realized that a previous $15,000 allocation for office repairs had expired.
However, even with less cash available, those who have been planning the job say the most important work likely can progress.
"It should be doable this year," Gunther Garbe, a member of the office committee, told Selectboard members.
The office committee was appointed after a report last year found pervasive problems at the facility off Route 30 in Newfane Village. Moisture underneath the office was a prime concern, though the analysis also recommended painting, window replacement, enhanced insulation, new flooring and a new heating/ventilation system.
But there was nowhere near enough money available for all of those projects, which were estimated to cost $175,000.
This summer, the office committee presented a report to Newfane Selectboard calling for renovations both below and above the office space. Proposed work included replacing floor supports; installing three vented windows for a crawl space; filling a cistern; insulating and ventilating the attic; and removing a 4,000-pound safe from the office.
The Selectboard did not award a contract based on the first round of submitted bids. A second round of proposals last week came from two contractors -- Wright Construction of Mount Holly, Vt., and Chris Parker of Guilford.
Wright's bid totaled nearly $48,000, while Parker bid on only the floor- and cistern-related work at a cost of $14,600. Both bids were remanded to the office committee for further review.
That review is complicated by monetary concerns. In March, voters allocated $25,000 for town-office repairs, of which $23,550 remains.
And that's all that remains, as Garbe said he has been informed that a previous $15,000 allocation for the office is no longer available because it was not used.
"It was in last year's budget as a capital expense, and we didn't expend it," he said.
The course and timing of the project ultimately will be up to the Selectboard. But Garbe on Monday said he believes the largest portions of the work -- the basement and attic projects -- can be covered with funding that's currently available.
"The best-case scenario is, of the three items, the only thing we won't be able to do is get rid of the safe," he said.
In other recent Selectboard business:
-- A representative of Lane Construction said the company will address problems with its recent paving work on South Wardsboro Road and Wiswall Hill Road.
Fred Cheney, a paving foreman for the Northfield, Mass., company, blamed a sudden rainstorm that "soaked all of our products" and turned paving material into a "mess."
"By no means are we trying to renege on trying to do a good job," Cheney told the Selectboard. "One thing we do is, we stand behind our work. We always have, and I think you folks know that."
Cheney said the issue will be corrected, but likely not this year.
"I would suggest that we don't do anything before springtime and see how things fare during the winter," he said.
-- No issues have arisen with the replacement of Hunter Brook Bridge off Dover Road. Motorists have been using a temporary bridge since the old span was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.
Officials have said the new bridge is expected to be complete next month.
"I think we're well within schedule," Selectboard member Chris Druke said.
-- Druke also told the board that she is optimistic that five proposed Irene-related property buyouts are moving forward.
"We are making some progress. It's looking likely that we've got some imminent closing dates," she said.
-- The Selectboard reviewed a letter from a Vermont League of Cities & Towns loss-control consultant who identified a list of potential hazards at the town office during a September survey.
Top-priority corrections recommended by the consultant include removing combustibles and storage from the furnace room; addressing "trip hazards" on the front steps; and fixing the fire alarm, which currently notifies the town clerk first -- not the fire department -- when an alarm is received.
Mike Faher can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.