First Selectman’s Update

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Melissa Mack

After recent difficult months, I am delighted to share great news! The Town Hall project will break ground in July, at a total cost of $5.116M. This is a remarkable $1.3M savings versus the $6.4M estimated in February 2020 and within the $5.130M approved by voters in 2015. Due to the comprehensive pre-construction due diligence undertaken over the last few years, the renovation and one-story addition will not proceed in the usual “Band-Aid” fashion. While this approach runs counter to many of the Town’s previous projects, I am confident it will ultimately yield a better outcome. Project timetable reflects a December 25, 2020 completion date.


• Of three options presented by the construction manager in February 2020, the option selected represents the one all stakeholders recommended – not the “Band-Aid,” nor the “Taj Mahal” options.

• Current pricing is not an estimate but rather a result of the competitive bid process, which I fervently insisted upon to provide a clear understanding of actual costs prior to potentially asking taxpayers for more money.

• Due diligence included multiple studies and reports addressing and fixing root building problems– not simply covering unresolved issues. Studies included moisture investigation, hazardous materials inspection, indoor quality survey and an asbestos report.

• Upon completion, all Town employees will be located in Town-owned buildings resulting in annual savings of nearly $125,000 inclusive of 230C Mountain Road rent, carrying/maintenance costs, and regained real and personal property tax. Admittedly, I’d prefer all Town employees in the same building, but relent in this regard given the expense to do so.


Construction Costs: $4,443,802
Soft Costs: $672,440
Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP): $5,116,242
Approved at 10/8/2015
Referendum: $5,130,000

We recently launched a new website page, Capital Projects, RFPs & Bids, devoting an exhaustive section to Town Hall and illustrating the comprehensive process followed by the Town to arrive at the place of confidence to proceed today. Information includes: Budget, Presentations, Plans & Pricing, RFPs, Reports, Q&A, Photos and any future updates. Please utilize the included Question Submission Form or call my office with any further concerns.

Lessons Learned

Given the Town’s recent experience with Kent Memorial Library, this project includes the following safeguards:

• Over $900,000 in healthy contingencies to protect against reasonably unforeseen circumstances.

• Closely monitored budget and contingency via regularly scheduled meetings among First Selectman, Facilities Manager, Finance Director, and Gilbane Project Manager.

• Additional oversight of construction process by Permanent Building Commission.

• Critical assessment of contract to ensure adequate protection of the Town’s interests. At its June 10 regular meeting, the Board of Selectmen tabled acceptance of the Guaranteed Maximum Price until a special meeting on June 23 to allow construction counsel additional review.

Arriving at this juncture has been no small feat. I appreciate the patience and support of our residents and thank the many who collaborated successfully to move this project forward including the Permanent Building Commission, Boards of Selectmen and Finance; all Town employees and especially Public Works, Building Department; our construction partners at QA+M architects, Gilbane Building Company and edm architects.

On another exciting note, the Town purchased its 691 streetlights from Eversource. Conversion to energy-efficient LEDs commences shortly concluding in May 2021 with more timely maintenance and energy cost savings in the Town’s annual budget. This undertaking also involved many years, much preparation and financial analysis by Facilities Manager Chris Matejek, the BOS, BOF, the Town’s streetlight consultant and counsel.

As we prepare to celebrate our country’s Independence Day, Suffield declared its fiscal independence from paying rent to third parties in two important municipal areas!

Happy 4th of July! Please stay healthy and safe and have an enjoyable summer! 

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