Meridian Star

Local News

June 25, 2014

City may take legal steps over leaky MPD roof

MERIDIAN —     With increasing concern over the the condition of the roof of the building that houses the city's police department, the city may take legal steps to ensure the landlord makes the needed repairs.

    Mike McGrevey, chief administrative officer for the city of Meridian, said Tuesday he has asked the city's legal counsel to look further into the matter of the roof at the Meridian Law Enforcement Center.

    "Today, Mr. (David) Watkins reaffirmed his commitment to replace the roof," McGrevey said in a written statement. "However, it's been 30 days, plus, since we met when he committed to replace the roof and I'm not satisfied with lack of progress to date."

    The city is leasing the building from Meridian Law Enforcement, LLC, an entity of Watkins Development, for 20 years at a cost of $305,000 a year, with possible increases every five years based on the consumer price index.

    Under the contract, Meridian Law Enforcement is responsible for maintenance to the outside walls, roof, foundation and exterior plumbing. The building underwent extensive and lengthy renovations to prepare it to house the police department. Leaks in the roof were evident almost immediately after police officers moved in, sources have said.

    McGrevey said he has asked the city attorney to make this a priority item and to investigate all legal options available to compel Watkins to fulfill his obligations under the lease.

    McGrevey added the lease is clear — the "landlord shall be required to repair and maintain the roof."

    Some city documents appear to support the claim that the roof needs replacing. A May 14 letter from Ricky Joe Shirley, city of Meridian building official, informed Watkins that during his own May 12 inspection of the building, he saw water standing in several areas, falling ceiling tile on the floor, and stains from obvious leaks. Stained tile was observed throughout the entire main building.

    "After touring the entire building and observing the standing water and damaged ceiling tiles and stains from obvious leaks, it is my opinion that the entire roof on the main building has deteriorated to the point it needs to be replaced," Shirley wrote.

    Tim Allred, a Meridian builder and developer whose company, Heritage Building, was hired in 2012 to finish renovations of the building after work had stalled, wrote a letter on May 12 to Watkins. His  letter recommended that Watkins "replace the roof on the main building with a new roof system."

    "Leaks are very difficult to isolate when the roof is deteriorated to this point and working on the roof actually causes disturbance to the roof structure and creates additional problems rather than solving them," Allred wrote.

    Allred also noted that he inspected areas where his company had installed new roofs and there doesn't appear to be any leaks in those areas.

    A local company, Cross Roofing, recommended having the existing roof removed down to its deck and a new insulation and roof system installed. It also recommended using an infrared scan, all areas of wet insulation marked, and then replaced.

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