Transfers Needed for Emergency Repair Work

City Manager Thomas Ambrosino is asking for the City Council’s approval for a number of financial transfers to cover the costs of two major repair projects in the city.

Ambrosino is seeking a nearly $1 million transfer from existing surpluses for major roof repair work at Chelsea High School. 

Additionally, he is seeking just over $160,000 from the sewer enterprise fund to pay for recent emergency sewer repair work on Winnisimmet Street.

Both requests were brought before the council at its Monday meeting, and should be back before it at the council’s next meeting for a second reading and final approval.

“The School Department has been seeking to fix roof problems at Chelsea High School for quite some time,” stated Ambrosino in a letter to the council. 

In last year’s capital improvement program, the city appropriated $750,000 for a portion of the roof work, specifically for the section above the auditorium where there were concerns there could be a leak.

“Unfortunately, during the design process, it has become clear to the School Department that much more extensive roof renovation is necessary,” stated Ambrosino. “The School Department has already gone out to bid for this work, and it has a low bid for the first two phases of the project for just over $2.1 million. A gap of approximately $1.35 million remains.”

However, Ambrosino said the school department doesn’t need new funding to meet the deficit, since there are nearly $1 million in surpluses from previous roof projects at the Williams School and the Mary C. Burke Complex. The balance of the costs will be covered by the school department’s fiscal year 2022 operating budget.

The total cost for the emergency sewer repairs on Winnisimmet Street is $161,172.

“In late March, the DPW was alerted to a major sewer break in the sewer trunk line that runs along Winnisimmet Street from Broadway to Park Street,” said Ambrosino. “Because this 150 year old brick sewer line is more than 15 feet deep and surrounded by electrical duct banks, the work was especially complicated and required the services of an experienced outside utility contractor.”

The contractor completed the work, but the city did not have the available funds in its FY23 sewer enterprise budget to cover the unanticipated expense.

“However, funding is available in the Sewer Enterprise Fund Retained Earnings,” stated Ambrosino. 

The state’s revenue department recently certified available money in those funds at just over $2.8 million, Ambrosino said.

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