2011-02-10 / Front Page

New pavilion likely not ready for spring functions

By Phil Zahodiakin

A replacement for the Lt. Col. John C. Rembijas memorial pavilion at Ft. Getty will probably not be ready in time for the first of the scheduled springtime functions, Town Engineer and Public Works Director Mike Gray informed the Town Council this week. The structure, which collapsed under the weight of the Feb. 2 snowfall, is a total loss.

A replacement for the pavilion was one of several financial issues on the agenda on Feb. 7. Gray informed the councilors that the cost of replacing the structure will be fully covered by the town’s insurance as long as the replacement is the same as the original building.

However, even if the replacement is as simple as the original building, a contractor has advised the insurance provider – the Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust – that it’s highly unlikely that a replacement could be built by the end of May, said Gray. It’s mainly weather uncertainties that led the contractor to this conclusion.

Pavilion rentals for wedding receptions and other private events provide about $10,000 a year in annual revenue for Jamestown. Town Administrator Bruce Keiser said that the first of the 2011 pavilion functions has been booked for mid-May, and that “we already have a total of 20 bookings for weekend events throughout the summer. It is our intent to ensure as best we can that those reservations are honored.”

The councilors discussed the possibility of building the replacement on other locations close to the current site. One location is a hill just west of the current site; the other is a volleyball field to the north. Both of the alternatives would provide a little more elevation – and thus some protection against minor flooding – along with some shelter from southwest winds.

However, each of the alternatives would require a new slab, and just the concrete for a 120-by-40-foot slab would cost $10,000. “It would cost two to three times that amount for the pour, and that doesn’t include site preparation,” Gray said.

Because the alternative sites fall within the jurisdiction of the Coastal Resources Management Council, there will be some additional time required to secure CRMC permits if the replacement is built anywhere but the present site.

Council President Mike Schnack asked Gray to provide the Council with cost estimates and timeframes to build the replacement on the alternative sites. Gray wasn’t asked to estimate the costs for any special features, which wouldn’t be covered by insurance, and Councilor Bill Murphy warned against adding “bells and whistles.”

Although there may be support for features such as skylights, “We don’t want to overbuild [the replacement],” Murphy said, “or we’ll have to charge more rent.”

A decision on the pavilion replacement will likely be reached at the Feb. 22 Council meeting.

In other financial news, the Council adopted the terms of the last two union contracts that Keiser, Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero and Town Financial Director Tina Collins had been negotiating.

The three-year contract with the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, which represents 13 Jamestown police offi cers, is retroactive to July 1, 2010. Keiser said that the terms of the contract enable the town to save $101,450 over the next three years, including an overall 8-percent reduction in the cost of health insurance for the officers.

Under the contract terms, there won’t be any salary increase for the remainder of this fiscal year; salaries will increase 2 percent on July 1 of this year and another 2 percent on July 1 of 2012. Under a few other terms:

• Longevity payments will be capped at 12.5 percent after 25 years, whereas the current ceiling is a 15-percent payment after 30 years.

• All officers will now have health insurance co-pays, and all will pay a 20-percent co-share for prescription drugs.

• The number of sick days that officers can sell back to the Town at the end of the year has been reduced from eight to five, with annual sick-day accrual reduced from 20 to 18 days, with two days going into a “sick leave bank” for long-term illness.

The Council also adopted a contract with the eight clerical employees and four dispatchers who are members of the National Association of Government Employees. Keiser said the contract mirrors the recent agreement with Public Works employees, and will save the town $28,627 over its three-year term.

In other financial matters, Keiser informed the Council that it will cost $150,000 to repair a 90-foot section of the East Ferry seawall, and that this expenditure will be discussed during the capital budget discussions that will start next month.

Keiser also mentioned that there is only $500 left in the town’s snow-removal budget.

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