Last spring, they notified the bonding company about their concerns the construction wasn't moving along. They called in an expert in August to assess the site, engineering management professor from Cornell University Dr. Paul G. Carr. In a 34-page evaluation, Carr reviewed every level of the project, from the opening of bids to scheduling to changes suggested by the builder that caused delays in the work. Of particular concern to the board was the unfinished, gaping roof.
"It is obvious that until the roof is in place, the building is exposed to the elements, and a significant expenditure already made by the town is at risk," said Carr in his written report. "Until the roof trusses are delivered, and the town's investment is secured, the value of the work in place would be impossible to appraise."
As part of the legal process, the town board offered Schmidt and Schmidt an opportunity to present a recovery plan to show how they could potentially complete the project, but that plan was also vague and incomplete.
"We stayed with them as long as we could to stay within our budget range," said Grattidge.
Following stringent legal requirements, the board nullified the original building contract with Schmidt and Schmidt, and at their town board meeting Sept. 25, voted to hire Rosch Brothers Builders of Latham to quickly shore up the unfinished building left exposed to the elements by the original company.
The new contractor began work on Oct. 1 to get emergency containment done to protect the partially constructed building from the upcoming winter weather, including putting on the roof to enclose the place. This shoring up of the building is now completed.
Calls to Schmidt and Schmidt in West Charlton went unanswered Monday, Dec. 10.
Delays in the project are likely to tack on extra costs to the $3.2 million price tag.
"The taxpayers of Charlton have waited a long time for the new town hall and this action will just add more time and expense to the project," Grattidge said. "But it is still our hope to move into the new building in the summer of 2008.""