Southold school district may tap repair reserve to address infrastructure concerns

Citing aging infrastructure and much-needed repairs, Southold school district officials may ask the Board of Education to approve expenditures from its Repair Reserve Fund in the new year.

At a meeting Dec. 14, superintendent Anthony Mauro updated the board on recent discussions by the building committee about projects that were recommended by an architect following a districtwide building study.

“Quite honestly, these are maintenance items. Things that have to be done and, if you do them, your buildings hold up well,” the superintendent said. “If you don’t do them, you end up having catastrophic problems that turn into really, really big ones.”

The district is currently undertaking repairs to doors after an audit revealed some pressing repair needs. Mr. Mauro said the items that needed to be addressed immediately are being paid for under the current school year budget. 

He recommended the board examine the time frame and finances for the remainder of the doors, both internal and external, that need replacement or repairs.

In the audit, the architect also recommended repairing or replacing portions of a roof and windows in the middle school section of the secondary building.

At last Wednesday’s meeting, Mr. Mauro said some items will be “definite” priorities and some are possibilities at this point.

For example, he said the board may want to consider updating aging boilers.

“Our boilers work well now, but they’re at the point where they’re difficult to even get parts to them,” the superintendent explained, noting that an ill-timed part breaking could be disastrous and replacement parts would either have to be custom-fabricated or impossible to source at all.

“It’s part of the reason we have a repair reserve, so that we can do these repairs all throughout rather than waiting until they become major problems,” Mr. Mauro said.

The building committee plans to draft a complete list of projects and maximum amount to be expended before a hearing expected in January.

Funds from the Repair Reserve fund may only be made after a public hearing has been held, except in emergency situations, officials said.

The district currently has $918,168 in its repair reserve.

The Board of Education will meet for a budget forum work session on Jan. 11, 2023. The next regular meeting will be held Jan. 25.