Grafton Weighs Town Office Fixes

Grafton — Following two state inspections this spring, the Selectboard submitted a plan to the Department of Labor yesterday to address a number of violations in the town office building and town library.

“They want us to make some changes in the building so employees have a safe working place,” Selectboard Chairman Stephen Darrow said this week.

One of the first changes — and something that can be done right away — would be to build a wall with a glass barrier to replace the door to the Selectboard’s office, Darrow said.

All of the work, for which the town has not yet obtained a cost estimate, is proposed to be completed by Dec. 1.

“It is going to cost some money and that could be an issue,” Darrow said last night. “We are talking to DRA (the state Department of Revenue Administration) to see what funds are available and what our alternatives are.”

The Selectboard developed a plan of action at Wednesday night’s meeting to address the Department of Labor’s report. Among the violations were tripping hazards at the exit door at the police station and in the meeting room in the town office building; emergency lighting, an exit sign and a railing on the stairs to the basement at the library; exposed electrical wiring on the second floor of the town office building and holes in the wall.

“We have a very old office building,” Darrow said. “It was once a farmhouse.”

Resident April Frost, wife of Selectman Sean Frost, said the board has done a commendable job trying to address the problems but wonders if the public is informed about what needs to be done.

“The Selectmen are trying to figure out what to do,” Frost. “They are in a bad situation because they are working with a default budget.

“I think the big issue in my mind is no one knows about this.”

Frost said she thinks there needs to be a townwide discussion on the town building.

“We need to decide,” she said. “Do we renovate? Do we build new? Do we rent?”

Everything the board is trying to do is out there for the public but Frost said there is no public engagement on the issue.

Darrow said he hopes they can drum up awareness of the building needs because that could lead to more volunteers stepping forward to help with in-kind services of material or labor. Already, a licensed engineer who lives in town has offered to design septic systems for both locations.

Additional work includes moving the town clerk’s office to the main floor of the town office, removing stairs to the back garage in the Police Department and moving the welfare office and tax collector’s office to different locations in the office building.

The town has already spent close to $11,000 this year to address other deficiencies, Frost said.

Both Frost and Darrow encouraged residents to attend board meetings and offer their thoughts on how the town should proceed. The next board meeting is Wednesday at 6 p.m., in the town office.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at