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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Anna Maria city hall roof, structure in poor shape

Anna Maria city commissioners stuck looking for about $50,000 for a new roof for city hall better look a little harder before the roof literally comes tumbling down.

According to a roof inspection done by certified building inspector Michael Conley of Straight Inspection Services, the roof has "significant deterioration" and termites in one location of the structure's frame have been enjoying a gourmet meal for some time, damaging the area in the process.

The bleak report states that the current roof is leaking in six to eight places, has numerous ponding areas, and a large blister is developing in one area.

Conley also found "significant deterioration" of the underlying material, and the tile roof is about 34 years old, while its life span is projected at just 20 to 25 years, he said. A flat roof will "never drain properly," he said, and over time, it settles and causes pockets of water to develop, adding to the roof deterioration.

More bad news. The current insulation is inadequate, Conley noted in his report.

And those stucco cracks in the exterior of the building are spreading because the wood-frame walls connected to the concrete-block walls are moving.

"It's never a good idea to connect wood framing with concrete block," he observed. "If it's in the budget, I recommend temporarily supporting the rear roof area and replacing the wood-frame walls with concrete block."

That's because the wood-frame walls at the northeast corner of the building show "significant termite damage," and the "double top plate and support members are extensively damaged" by termites.

"In my opinion," said Conley, "the framing should be replaced or shored up before the walls are closed."

If the picture is as bleak as Conley paints it, commissioners have just a few weeks to find the money for roof and structure repairs to coincide with the city hall renovation project currently under way.

Conley did not provide estimates in his report, but noted that a good shingle roof costs between $3 and $7 per square foot, while a shingle roof, which would only last about 15 to 20 years, would cost between $2 and $4 per square foot. The roof area is about 10,000 square feet, he said.

Additionally, blown-in insulation for a roof would cost between 80 cents and $1.20 per square foot.

None of that work includes the cost of replacing the framing damaged by termites, repairing the stucco cracks or fixing the windows.

The windows currently at city hall "can continue to serve as they are," observed Conley, but they each need servicing at an estimated cost of between $25 and $40 per window.

Conley did have some good news as he concluded his report. "If I can be of further assistance, or if you have any questions, please call me," he offered.

Commissioners had tried at their initial budget hearing in July to find money for a new roof, but were unsuccessful. They will discuss potential revenue generation measures at their 6 p.m. meeting Aug. 26.