Officials vote to fix courthouse roof

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

Upcoming work won't include repairs to underlying problems

TELL CITY - Members of the Perry County Redevelopment Commission reluctantly signed a contract May 29, giving a courthouse-roof repair job to a Troy contractor despite problems that will continue to underlie the shingles he'll install.

Fella Home Improvement of Troy submitted the only bid - for $52,320 - a year ago to repair the building's leaky roof.

As The News reported previously, the redevelopment commission met several times last year and early this year to discuss repairs to the roof, whose leaks aren't thought to be causing structural damage, but are staining ceiling tiles and prompting courthouse employees to distribute buckets to catch rain.

Records for the roof's construction no longer exist and memories have faded, county attorney Chris Goffinet told county officials, and nothing could be located proving a warranty remained in effect.

He said the roof's construction includes soffit vents that should prevent moisture from accumulating, but they were stuffed with insulation during the early-1990s construction and required ridge vents weren't installed.

"We've just got to bite the bullet," the attorney said during a Jan. 23 county-commissioners meeting, "and figure out which option makes the most sense."

A metal roof, which was originally planned for the building, would cost approximately $254,000, according to a consultant who examined the building last summer. Replacing the shingles would cost $107,000, and that work and correction of the roof's ventilation would cost $185,000.

A fund that could pay for the work contains $111,341, County Auditor Connie Berger told the redevelopment commissioners.

They signed an agreement that includes material and labor cost increases the contractor said resulted from the delay. Before beginning the work, Fella was to get half of the $57,715 he rebid, and he could request payment of a portion of the remainder to pay for supplies.

Goffinet said the new figure represented a 3-percent increase in labor and 2-percent rise in materials costs.

The contractor will provide a one-year warranty covering his work but won't be held responsible for existing ventilation problems, according to the agreement.

If the redevelopment commission is dissatisfied with the shingles he'll install, they can seek relief from their manufacturer.

Redevelopment Commissioner Paul Malone said he had reservations about the agreement, and abstained when a motion was offered to approve it.

"I don't think it's the right thing to do," Commissioner Bernard Hermann said, "but if he's going to do the work, we ought to pay him."

"My sense of this group," Goffinet said after the meeting, "is they decided to put a new shingle roof on because they have the money to do it, and they'll look for ways later to fix the rest."