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Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

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Colonial Beach Town Hall closes to remove mold

Town Clerk Kathy Flanagan sent out an instant alert on Monday, June 16, announcing that Town Hall will close early this week to began mold remediation over the weekend.

“Town Hall offices will be closed at 2:30 pm on Thursday, June 19, for emergency repairs” was all that the message said. However, a resolution describing the work needed and authorizing Town Manager Val Foulds to spend up to $130,000 states, “Time is of the essence in addressing this issue because the health of those who work at Town Hall is paramount.”

Council’s hands were tied at the June 12 regular meeting when they passed the resolution authorizing the spending. The town’s budget is already experiencing a shortfall of almost $1 million, split between the town and school budgets.

The council had no choice but to allow the repairs to continue after learning from Foulds that the Fire Marshal would shut down the building if the work was not completed by June 28.

At the June 9 council work session, Town Manger Val Foulds revealed that air quality tests confirmed three types of mold present inside Town Hall, one of which is commonly referred to as “black mold”. Foulds also discussed safety concerns and other repair issues during the work session.

Foulds informed Council that based on an inspection by an environmental specialist, the Town received a report on Friday afternoon, June 6, stating that the air quality was positive for three types of mold, including black mold. Foulds also said that she received the lab reports on air quality with an estimate of $48,010 for mitigation and remediation of an 800-sq. ft. area. The estimate did not include restoration, and the company also stressed it did not cover additional mold that may be found after the building is opened up.

Building and fire safety deficiencies have been identified, as well, and the town has specific recommendations for improvement and correction.

The council discussed relocation, but no viable alternative could be found in time to keep Town Hall open, so the council decided to conduct the necessary repairs to protect the health of those who work in the building.

The Town Manager is authorized to spend up to $130,000 to fulfill the directives contained in the resolution and to execute all contracts that may be necessary, provided that they are approved by the Town Attorney and related to the purposes identified in this resolution.

Linda Farneth

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