City council votes to fix floor

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, November 24, 2012

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To avoid a dangerous situation, the Runaway Bay City Council Tuesday approved a $12,576.85 bid to repair damages to the floor in the city council chamber.

The damages, it is believed, are a result of a front flower bed that allows water to come underneath the building and keep it saturated.

“Folks, y’all have got a mess,” said Larry Settle with Basic IDIQ, a general contractor that works through purchasing cooperatives. “We brought in three different contractors to crawl under and look at this facility … You’ve got some very bad wood under here. I’m very concerned that, someday, someone is going to fall through and hurt themselves.”

An original contractor outlined an extensive plan that included demolishing the flower bed and changing that front area, implementing ventilation (more than what has already been added) and adding a completely new floor – ripping out the flooring, replacing the joists, carpet, and even some of the drywall where mold has begun to grow.

The pricetag for that fix – up to $60,000 – did not appeal to the council.

“Our opinion was to completely tear this thing all the way down and replace everything – fix the ventilation, use marine board and make this thing a council room that will last forever, a lot longer,” Settle said. “But then the price was quite a bit more.”

So the company presented a more economical option that limited the scope of work to about one-third of the room’s area, toward the back where most of the damage is located. Workers will pull back the carpet and padding to allow access to the wood floor, then remove the plywood flooring to expose the rotted joists. After tearing out those joists, treated 4×6 support beams and joists would be installed to support the new plywood flooring. Then the existing padding and carpeting would be reattached.

“We were trying to come up with a way to spend the least amount of money,” Settle said. “But this is putting a Band-Aid on it … It’s not going to last forever. Everything needs to be replaced. All places are showing signs of rot, some dry rot. But it’s extremely bad in a particular section (the back of the room where citizens sit). That’s wet rot.”

City officials were reluctant to pour too much money into the building, which may be outgrown if anticipated growth materializes after a change in the city’s housing ordinance. See related story on page 6A.

“If the housing we’ve approved goes in, we’re going to have the need for a larger space than this,” Mayor Robert Ryan said. ” … also keeping mind that we do have a sizeable amount of repair work pending down at the dock. We don’t need to jump off and spend all the money on a room we use once a month.”

White added: “This $12,000 that we’re going to spend would be enough to last for a period of 10 years. That would be adequate enough for growth and see where we might need to go from there.”

Even though the price was more favorable, council was not pleased with all of the corners cut.

“It says here that you’ll do the underlying with particle board, and I know particle board, when it gets damp, it pretty much disappears,” Councilman Neil Peters said. “It’s a very, very weak wood whenever it gets damp.”

So the council requested the particle board be replaced with extra heavy-grade plywood, an estimated $330 increase.

“It may be just a Band-Aid,” White said. “But we’re trying to get a better brand of Band-Aid.”

The council approved the proposal on the condition that the better quality material be added and with knowledge that more damages may be identified once the ground is exposed.

“Maybe that’s a good time for us to go back and look at adding an addendum to seal the flower bed and look at guttering as well,” Ryan said. “But we need to do it.”

Councilman Ticer agreed but also advised: “I know it needs fixing. But we need to be prepared to spend a lot more money to do it, expect a lot more damage when they pull the floor up. Let’s do it right.

Settle said that most of the costs and labor are are already accounted for.

“When we tear this up, we’re going to see if there’s anything else that desperately needs to be done,” he said. “But the main part of the labor and costs is already there. Buying a few more timbers is not that big.

“But this needs to be addressed before it gets real wet again.”

Once started, the project should be completed in two to three-and-a-half weeks.

In other news

  • Mayor Ryan reported that repairs to bring up the water plant to TCEQ standards were to begin next week and work to patch Runaway Bay Drive, the city’s “main entrance” is on the drawing board.
  • White requested the city look at compensating – either through refund or credit on their bill – the owners not able to access docks and other facilities due to storm damage. City staff said such adjustments are already in the works. The council plans to meet with an engineer “in the not-too-distant future” to talk dock repair.
  • The council approved the consent agenda that included the minutes from the Oct. 16 meeting and a contract with Wise County Appraisal District for property tax assessment and collection.
  • Council members also OK’d the October financials, accounts payable, activity reports and journal entries.

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