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Board sets $1M bond for new MUMS roof

MIDDLEBURY — Addison Central Supervisory Union (ACSU) voters on March 6 will be asked to approve a 20-year, $1,012,491 bond to replace the Middlebury Union Middle School roof.
The UD-3 board on Tuesday unanimously agreed to place the bond issue on the Town Meeting Day ballots of the seven ACSU-member towns after bids had been opened for the job. Rutland-based Quinn Company submitted the lowest bid for a new metal roofing system for MUMS.
If approved by voters, the new roof will replace the existing, asphalt-shingle model original to the 1997 MUMS building. The current roof is leaky and deteriorating, to the extent that it has had to be patched annually for the past five years.
The roof’s shortcomings are particularly evident in the winter, when the surface harbors large chunks of ice that have to be chipped away — especially near the building’s exits.
The district has looked into the possibility of recouping money through the warranty and from the original roofer. But the roof is already at the edge of its warranty and the roofer is no longer in business.
Board members on Tuesday were presented with the option of endorsing a metal roof or new asphalt shingles for around $230,000 less. The board chose the former, at the recommendation of the UD-3 facilities committee, which reported the metal roof could last up to 50 years — more than twice the duration of the bond issue.
“We felt (the metal roof) was cost-effective,” said board and facilities committee member Lucy Schumer.
Schumer noted the roughly $1 million price tag also includes venting and insulation for the MUMS gym and cafeteria, air sealing for the mechanical room in the attic, and re-roofing of a maintenance shed.
Officials said the bond, if approved, would carry $26,000 in debt service in the 2012-2013 budget (see related story). The bond would add $66,000 in debt service in 2014, a sum that would decline slightly during each of the ensuing years of the bond issue. Taxpayers in all seven ACSU towns would share in the payback.
Board members on Tuesday considered options for reducing the project cost and bond figure, including applying a portion of UD-3’s fund balance, which currently stands at around $400,000. Board member Quinn Mecham of Middlebury suggested applying $32,000 of the fund balance to bring the bond down to around $980,000, below the more daunting $1 million mark.
Erik Remsen, UD-3’s Shoreham representative, agreed.
“If we have the bond under $1 million and ask the voters to use some of the reserve, I feel it would make it more palatable that we are not asking voters to foot it all,” Remsen said.
But UD-3 administrators argued the fund balance should be safeguarded, to the greatest extent possible, for other potential emergency projects and repairs that could pop up in the future.
MUMS principal Inga Duktig cited paving, grounds work and some interior renovations that will be needed at the middle school, while MUHS principal Bill Lawson cited aging carpeting and the potential need for an alternative energy system as among looming expenses in his building.
“There are a variety of potential projects out there,” Lawson said. “We have been deferring these things to manage reasonable budgets.”
The board ultimately voted to present the entire roughly $1 million bond amount.
“I feel voters will approve it,” said UD-3 board Chairman Leonard Barrett.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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