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Registrar’s Office Flooded Ahead Of Early Voting



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Fortune favored the Registrar of Voters office, when Democratic Registrar LeReine Frampton sent a deputy registrar into the office to retrieve a forgotten laptop on Saturday, March 23.

Frampton had used the laptop just before her departure from the office on Thursday, and discovered she needed it. When the deputy registrar arrived at the office to get the laptop on a Saturday that saw torrential downpours of rain, he found the floor of the office covered in water.

The municipal center, where the Office of the Registrar of Voters is located, was having the roofing done by Barrett Roofing, and according to First Selectman Jeff Capeci, in spite of the tarping and rain blockers that the roofing company put down to protect the interior of the building, rain water had somehow infiltrated into the registrar’s office.

“There was standing water all over,” said Republican Registrar Erica Canfield. “We saved everything.”

If Frampton hadn’t sent someone to retrieve the laptop, the watery incursion may not have been discovered until Tuesday morning, the next time the office was open, and the beginning of early voting for the Presidential primary.

“It kinda saved the day,” said Frampton.

But, with the emergency caught early, crews from the roofers were able to come in and clean out the office using wet vacs and dehumidifiers, and office staff covered the desks in plastic. Other items were “moved out of harm’s way.”

Tim Whelan of the Public Works Department said the roofers had spent a lot of time tarping and covering the roof prior to the Saturday rain storm, which has “lots of shingles and little valleys and areas that can catch rain.” He said they missed a “little two by two void,” but had “really stepped up” in the aftermath to make things right.

“It looked like a lot of water, but in the end it was only five or six gallons,” said Whelan.

Capeci said there is still water in the ceiling of the office. Whelan said that a thermal imager and moisture meter was used to find where water is trapped. Barrett Roofing, at its own expense, will be cutting out the sheetrock, and pulling out the insulation and other material that is currently soaked with water, then will let the space dry out before replacing the material and putting up new sheetrock, in the first week of April when the registrars are away at a conference.

With the registrar’s office dry as a bone by Tuesday, March 26, early voting was able to start on time and with no complications.

“We were able to open on time in spite of the water,” said Frampton. “Everything is going well.”

The roof work was approved at an April 2023 referendum at a cost of $1.55 million. The old roof was mostly original to the building. When it was renovated to be the municipal center, there was some talk about replacing the roof but it was rejected at that time. As a result, only a couple strategic sections of the roof were replaced then.

The 90-year-old roof is being replaced and asbestos is being removed. The work is expected to be done within a month. The cupolas are not being included in the work, and will likely be done as part of a separate project.

Work on the roofing project is expected to continue for approximately another month.

Editor Jim Taylor can be reached at jim@thebee.com.

An estimated five or six gallons of water spilled into the Office of the Registrar of Voters on March 23.
A Barrett Roofing employee carries a piece of wood on his shoulder while traversing the southeast-facing roof of Newtown Municipal Center on March 22. Workers have been seen and tarps and other equipment have been in place on the Town building for a few weeks. —Bee Photo, Hicks
The $1.55 million appropriation for roof work on Newtown Municipal Center was approved during the April 2023 referendum. The 90-year-old roof is mostly original to the building. —Bee Photo, Hicks
The water did not stop early voting from beginning on March 26; seen here is the first vote cast of the day by Fire Marshal Rich Frampton.
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