The old adage "when it rains, it pours," could be used to describe a meeting of the Dukes County commissioners last week to discuss the fiscal year 2009 draft budget, which begins on July 1, 2008.
As the commissioners wrestled with how best to close a projected $179,000 budget deficit, they learned that the 11-year old roof on the Dukes County Courthouse must be replaced and emergency repairs are needed immediately.
The roof failed following storms of Dec. 13 and 15.
Registrar of Deeds Diane Powers said the roof has been a repeated source of problems since it was installed in 1996.
As the only county official with an office in the courthouse, Ms. Powers acts as the de facto manager of the courthouse property.
"We've had some major leaks," said Ms. Powers. "There's a sheet of ice between the membrane and the wood structure of the building. We have water coming out the light fixtures. The roof has to be replaced."
"Not only is there damage to the building, it's a danger," added county treasurer and acting county manager Noreen Mavro Flanders.
County officials have applied to the state's Division of Capital Asset Management for emergency funding and a waiver of the normal bidding requirements. That agency is responsible for major public building construction and real estate services for the Commonwealth. The county has added $20,000 to the latest draft of its fiscal year 2009 budget, to cover the initial payment for roof repairs.
The courthouse roof has been patched many times. County engineer Stephen Berlucchi said he has been up to the roof at least a dozen times, to assess damage or advise on repairs.
According to Ms. Powers, the county has tried to recover the cost of repairs under warranties in the past, but was unsuccessful.