Orange Town Hall has no maintenance personnel

  • Orange Town Hall by night recorder file photo

For The Recorder
Friday, January 12, 2018

ORANGE — In his report to the Selectboard Wednesday night, board Vice Chair Richard Sheridan mentioned the need for a mechanical engineer to come into town hall and give the whole place a look over and offer quotes and ideas for work needed. “The Band-Aid method we have done for all the years I have been here is just not working,” Sheridan said of town hall maintenance. “Maintenance is always something we have just put aside.”

Board Chair Ryan Mailloux agreed with Sheridan, noting that the town doesn’t have a full-time maintenance person. “We should have a maintenance team,” he said, noting that when the new boiler was installed in the town hall, consideration for the full size of the building was not made. There was no one in the town hall knowledgeable on the heating system to consult with the installer, and the boiler the town hall ended up with is undersized.

The discussion comes after two radiators in the foyer of the Ruth B. Smith Auditorium let go, leading to significant water damage in the offices below, specifically the area of the tax collector’s desk.

Town Clerk Nancy Blackmer explained that, on Thursday, Dec. 28, newly hired tax collector Kim Lively came in to set up her desk. When she returned on Tuesday, Jan. 2, practically everything on the desk had been ruined by the water that came through the ceiling.

Over the weekend, town treasurer Gabriele Voelker and her husband, and building inspector Phil Harris, were in the town hall past 1 a.m. Saturday morning trying to clean up. Currently, as of Wednesday night, there were still two large trash bins in place still collecting water in the spot where the tax collector’s desk was. “It was a trial by water,” Blackmer and Voelker joked of Lively’s first days on the job.

Mailloux said that, ideally, the town needs to hire a facilities manager to oversee the maintenance that needs to be done in the town buildings. “When a door knob breaks off it shouldn’t be the town treasurer who has to fix the door, or the ceiling leaks and it’s the town clerk having to put a bucket down,” he said.

James Cornwell, Selectboard clerk, suggested reaching out to the energy committee for their opinion as they are now seeking ways to use the new green communities grant the town has been offered from the state. The board agreed this would be a viable course of action.