BDA cleanup cost revised to $121,000

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BENNINGTON — The actual cost of cleanup and repairs to the Bennington Downtown Alliance building after a devastating August flood was $121,586.20, nearly twice the figure that Town Manager Stuart Hurd reported at a Jan. 28 Select Board meeting. But the town still expects to be reimbursed all but $1,000 by its insurer.

Hurd corrected the number the next day in an email to his staff, explaining that at the meeting, he incompletely referenced only the Secor Group's final submitted cost of renovations. The total includes engineering and the unexpected costs of soil decontamination and asbestos removal.

In a Town of Bennington Blacksmith Shop Sewer Backup Insurance Claim dated Aug. 1, 2019, the costs are broken down as follows in a total repairs expense summary:

Catamount Environmental, Inc: $12,204.67 for asbestos removal. This company has been used by Bennington before and is "the only game in town" for this type of cleanup, said Hurd.

The Secor Group, LLC: $19,165.33 for demolition and "additional engineering expenses," said Hurd. At this point, the Secor Group was also determining how to put the building back together after much of it was destroyed by the flood. Some walls were removed during this process.

MCS Cleaning: $21,696.20, for soil decontamination as well as mold and spore decontamination on the underside of the building's floor joists and a crawlspace where sewage seeped through. Soil under the building also had to be cleaned and sealed to ensure that harmful spores don't grow.

The Secor Group, LLC: $2,130.93 for "early work."

The Secor Group, LLC: $66,389.09, which was the final cost of the renovation that Hurd originally quoted as the total cost of renovation.

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While the total expenses reached slightly over $121,000, the town will pay only $1,000, which is its deductible through Vermont League of Cities and Towns Property and Casualty Intermunicipal Fund (VLCT PACIF). Each of these costs were reviewed and approved by a PACIF claims representative.

"Insurance only pays for what is necessary," Hurd said.

In early August shortly after the flood, Building Inspector Larry McLeod estimated the damages to total upwards of $75,000 or $80,000. However, due to some originally unanticipated expenses, the total cost came in higher. These expenses included the removal of asbestos tiles as well as soil decontamination— projects totaling $33,900.87.

Secor Group was chosen by the town for this project because they were "readily available" when contacted by the town to do initial demolition and they have also done work with the town before, Hurd said. Once the flooding inside the building was stopped, the town needed to move quickly to ensure no additional damage occurred.

"We went directly to them in an emergency situation," Hurd said.

Secor also reached out to MCS Cleaning to perform the decontamination services, he said.

The BDA remains in the upstairs offices of their South Street building following the cleanup as they anticipate some window replacements to be done next week. It will be a "very minimal disruption," said McLeod.

Christie Wisniewski can be reached at cwisniewski@benningtonbanner.com and at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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