Wednesday, January 2, 2008

BOE New Year's Gift: $61,300,000 Capital Plan

I could have sworn that the BOE employs a Facilities Maintenance Manager. Isn't his name John Calhoun? Why did the BOE need to hire Savin Engineeers in New York to do a "building condition survey (facilities assessment)" to tell it that roofs, windows, parking lots, floor tile, fluorescent fixtures and ceiling tile have to be replaced? Doesn't Mr. Calhoun have the ability to do this himself? What about the Town Engineers, the Buildings Department Officials, Al Russo's Town Facilities Maintenance Department and the Fire Marshals...don't they have the necessary expertise? How much did this study cost? Where did the money for it come from and was it authorized by the BOE?

Here's the breakdown of these "conceptual costs" for the four buildings that were studied: 10.8M at Hill and Plain, 10.5M at Northville Elementary, 15.3 Pettibone and a whopping 24.6M At Schaghticoke. Amazing. Why wasn't there a study of the High School, East Street or Sarah Noble Schools?

Another amazing part of the study is that 26% of the 61.3M ($15,938,000) is for "conceptual" or soft costs: "architectural and construction management fees, legal and insurance fees, design and construction contingencies, testing etc." and "escalation." What are these BOE people thinking...or do they?

How many people are employed by the BOE to maintain the schools? Is its Department understaffed? Is John Calhoun's money taken away from him to be used for other purposes?

How much money has been allocated to capital in the BOE Budgets over the past 10 years and how much of it has actually been used for that purpose? A majority of the items listed in the study are maintenance items. Why weren't these items properly maintained over the course of time?

For the past few years, the BOE 5-year Capital Plan has been in the $500,000 to $600,000 range. Why all of a sudden did it jump to $61,000,000?

A Capital Reserve Fund was established in the mid-90's so that the BOE could do some of the work described in the study. Why weren't they done and what happened to the money? And the numbers in the were they calculated? $1,488,905.00 to pave SMS? Any of the local companies could probably do the job for about $250,000 which would even include some drainage work. Wild.

The value of this project is that it is proof positive that the BOE cannot manage or maintain its facilities.

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