Mold

The July 8 selectmen’s meeting brought the town several items of maintenance bad news. The most expensive of which was reported by acting road agent O’Grady. One of the newer trucks is in need of a $5,000 engine repair. Guess the honeymoon of lower maintenance costs resulting from updating of the fleet is over.

Presumably at the behest of insurance carriers, Mason has set up several committees to reduce loss. The first of these is a health committee. Unfortunately the participants have been a litte bashful about their noon time exercises; so other than mention it, we have not yet been able to write a proper article praising their efforts.

Others are the safety committee and joint loss management committee which gave their reports to the selectmen on July 8. The condition of the highway barn is listed only as a familiar refrain. However, the barn is probably in the hands of the building committee, so it’s defects were not enumerated in the summary minutes. We’ve attempted to attend a building committee’s meeting as listed on the town calendar, but so far have found no one there during the appointed time.

Of a more familiar nature was the report of moldy air conditioners in both the Town Clerk and Selectman’s office. The inhabitants of those offices are occasionally teary and sneezey and not in a good way. Administrative Assistant Barbara Milkovits thought that the units had developed a bad case of mold while in winter storage in the Mann House basement, which has previouly been known to be damp. According to the minutes “the Committee is recommending that the Selectmen have Brennan and MacKay (from Milford) come out to evaluate the town offices and Library for installation of air conditioners and to purchase the recommended conditioners”.

The latter recommendation brought forth in what seemed to us as a case of shoot the messenger from Selectman O’Grady. While we didn’t capture his exact words, the gist of them was “how do you know it’s mold and what qualifications do Brennan and MacKay have to evaluate the problem?” Fair enough, but we take it that previous local attempts to rid the units of whatever is growing in them have not yet been successful.

We are reminded of the chronic denial of a building condition at the Mascenic School District that eventually led to the abandonment of the SAU headquarters. While we aren’t saying that the Mann house is at that stage, a little low cost maintanance can go a long way. Then again, we can remember times when office hours were not as frequent and there were no air conditioners in the building.

The committees did not specifically mention problems at the town hall, other than finding an unlocked exterior door on the second floor. However, several residents that attended the Fairpoint broadband session commented that the moss on the north side of the roof could use a good mowing. We assume the roof is not leaky yet, but it’s twenty year warrantee is probably up. Maybe that is already on the building committee’s agenda as a long term planning item?

The bottom line quarterly recommendation from the safety committee appears to be “the town buildings need to be protected and there needs to be regular maintenance. The question is who is in charge of these buildings?”. We seem to recall that a past board of selectmen put building and grounds under the supervision of the Road Agent. But we currently don’t have one of those, so it’s probably a relevant question.

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