NORTH ADAMS -- Funds for some $250,000 in repairs to bring municipal facilities into compliance with the American With Disabilities Act (ADA) and appropriations to establish a repair fund for Hillside Cemetery were put on hold for two weeks during Tuesday night's City Council meeting.
The councilors voted unanimously to table action on a $250,000 bond for ADA upgrades required by the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ), to allow themselves time to review the list of repairs it would fund. Mayor Richard J. Alcombright submitted a detailed list, which includes $40,000 for the hiring of a seasonal skilled laborer and a seasonal laborer.
Councilor John Barrett III asked how much of the required repairs and upgrades the city woul accomplish with the $250,000 bond.
"We're probably going to hit about 90 percent in this first phase," said City Administrator Michael Canales. "Most of this work can be done in-house. It's everything from coat hooks to bathroom rails. However, this is the smallest part. The remaining 10 percent is going to be in the millions. That's when we're going to have to address issues at the Alcombright Athletic Complex and at the Public Safety building."
He said the city has until October to complete the upgrades and renovations specified in the first phase of repairs, and that the city is six months into a three-year agreement with the Department of Justice.
Alcombright said the remaining items would all need some type of engineering and design work done.
"When we get to facilities like the Public Safety building, we're going to have to do a full-study to access whether we need to do renovations, renovations and/or a new building or a complete relocation," he said. "We're not at there yet. The DOJ has been pretty gracious with us and understands the need for money and for more time."
Canales said the city has informally talked with a company that specializes in analyzing public safety facilities, but that a formal request for proposals would most likely be issued during the summer.
Councilor Jennifer Breen asked how a newer facility, such as the Alcombright Athletic Complex, could fail to meet ADA standards.
The mayor explained that many of the city's facilities were compliant with ADA standards when they were built, and that because major repairs had not been done at the buildings, new standards were not triggered.
"When the DOJ did its audit, it was because a complaint was filed about the public safety building," he said. "In the past, when a complaint was issued, only the facility in question was audited. When this complaint was filed, the DOJ had just instituted a new format, which uses a broader scope and caused an audit of the whole city."
Barrett, who was mayor when the Alcombright Athletic Complex was built, said that while funding ran out, city officials still had to certify that the completed work met ADA standards at the time.
In other action, the council voted unanimously to refer a request for the appropriation of $20,000 from the Tinker Fund back to the mayor's office. The appropriation called for $8,000 to be used for the removal of the old cemetery building at Southview Cemetery, $2,000 for a new sign at Southview Cemetery and $10,000 to establish a matching fund for repairs at Hillside Cemetery.
The action was taken after resident Mark Trottier asked how the Tinker Fund, which was established by E. R. Tinker for the upkeep of Hillside Cemetery, could be used for work at Southview Cemetery.
Alcombright said he would further look into the use of the Tinker Fund and would most likely return with an order calling for $10,000 for the matching funds account and a new order for the remaining $10,000 to be taken from the city's perpetual care account.