Vol 7 No. 17 - January 17, 2007
Mold to close city hall
SUN PHOTO/LAURIE KROSNEY
Anna Maria city hall will soon be on the move
again. The entire staff is preparing to move down
the street and into the Island Baptist Church
while the building is treated for mold. Here,
from left to right are Mayor Fran Barford, City
Clerk Alice Baird, Code Enforcement Officer Gerry
Rathvon, Deputy Clerk Diane Percycoe and Building
Clerk Diane Sacca.
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA It was a double whammy
last week for city officials and staff as they learned
the mold cleanup at city hall wont be covered by
insurance and that operations are being moved out of the
building and into Island Baptist Church.
"We just got word that the leak is not covered,"
Mayor Fran Barford said of the mold problem that grew
after roofers left the city inadequately protected while
installing a new roof in August of last year. Rain got
into the building and caused the mold to sprout.
"What that means to us as far as the city recouping
its damages, its left with litigation," Barford
told commissioners at a special meeting Jan. 11. In other
words, the city will have to file suit to recover its
The Florida League of Cities, which insures city hall,
had indicated there was $10,000 in the citys policy
to cover mold cleanup. However, in a letter to the city,
Claims Representative Bonnie Wright stated that the citys
policy doesnt cover a situation where workmen leave
the roof open and exposed to the elements after the workday.
The citys policy only covers damage caused to the
exterior of the building by wind or hail or some other
That leaves the city with no option but to resort to litigation
to recover damages from Roof U.S.A., the contractor for
the re-roofing job.
Barford told commissioners she thinks the cleanup costs
may run from $16,000 to $49,000.
City staff moving out
The city staff is moving from city hall into two rooms
at the Island Baptist Church this week, the mayor told
commissioners. Commission and other board meetings will
be held in commission chambers at Holmes Beach City Hall.
"We have to get the staff out of there," she
said. "Its not good for them to be working
in the building. Also, the contractors and the protocol
for the cleanup have indicated that if staff works in
the building during the cleanup, they will not guarantee
"This is quite serious," Barford said. She asked
the commission for permission to contract with SERPRO
for remediation of the mold problem.
That cost is expected to run about $16,000, but that could
be higher depending on how extensive the mold growth proves
to be once everything is uncovered, the mayor said. That
amount also does not cover replacing ceiling tiles and
drywall that will be removed during the cleanup.
The mayor also asked permission to contract with the church
for the two rooms at a cost of $300 a week. She said she
expects the staff to be out of the building for at least
A third request was for the authorization to spend up
to $5,000 to wire the church and install phone lines and
computer equipment at the church.
The commission unanimously authorized the mayors
The city has already spent $2,250 to do the mold assessment
and $600 to have the removal protocol worked up. If the
staff stays in the church for seven weeks, that expense
will be $2,100. Add to that the $5,000 cost of moving
the equipment one way but not back to city hall, and the
costs are already up to $9,950. If the remediation work
comes in at $16,000, the expense will be up to almost
She said this was a problem she had inherited when she
took office, and she would be glad when the problems were
Meanwhile, Barford will work with City Attorney Jim Dye
to begin whatever steps are necessary for the city to
recover its costs from Roof U.S.A., including any moving
and rental expenses incurred as a result of having to
vacate the building for the cleanup.
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