Milford City Council voted Monday to allow work to begin on a new staircase for the finance department, electrical work at the police station and state-mandated work on the boiler at City Hall.

A new staircase for Milford's finance department, electrical work for the Milford Police Department and state-mandated work on the boiler at City Hall.

Milford City Council unanimously approved all three no-bid projects Monday, collectively totaling more than $30,000.

The city will pay local contractor Brendon T. Warfel Construction about $16,000 to install a new staircase between the main floor and the attic of the city's finance office, located behind City Hall at 10 Southeast Second Street.

"The steps there now are of the flimsy, pull-down attic variety and they're just not very safe and, frankly, can't really be accessed by all the staff," Town Manager Richard Carmean said. "This will add an actual stairway with rails and a door that can be secured."

The attic is currently used to store personnel records and invoices from bills paid by city residents. Staff members typically use the pull-down staircase at least once a week, officials said.

Carmean said the project also would include an attic fan to help preserve the financial records.

"Ideally, they would be stored in a fireproof room, but this is far less expensive fix,' he said.

City council on Monday also agreed to pay Diamond Electric of Dover about $13,000 to properly ground the Milford police station and its communication equipment.

The police station at 400 Northeast Front Street was struck by lightning twice within a 30-day period last summer, collectively costing more than $150,000 in damages to the department's communications equipment, most of which was covered by the city's insurance, according to Lt. Edward Huey.

The department has been using its backup mobile radios since the second strike in July, and city officials want to be sure the building is protected from future strikes before installing new equipment.

"They say lightning doesn't strike twice, but from our experience it definitely does," Huey said. "The building was constructed in 1979 before the current grounding standards were adopted, so we're undertaking this project to ensure the safety of our dispatchers and to protect our investment in the new equipment."

City council on Monday also agreed to hire Rumpstich Machine Works on South Rehoboth Boulevard to examine the malfunctioning boiler at city hall.

Last month, an inspector with the DNREC's Boiler Safety Program issued the city a violation after determining the boiler at City Hall is leaking water. The city was given 30 days to repair or replace the boiler, under the threat of a $1,000 fine.

"It's a fairly routine issue and we don't consider this to be an immediate hazard," said Alex Rittberg, DNREC's environmental program manager. "But it does need to be fixed."

Carmean said the manufacturer of the six-year-old boiler has indicated that repair costs could be equally as expensive as the anticipated $11,000 cost of purchasing a new one.

"We're hoping it's just a leaking seal and not a major crack," Carmean told city council. "Rumpstitch does boiler work and should be able to tell us whether the problem can be fixed with some welding or whether we'll have to pursue buying a new one."

Carmean said he won't know the cost of the repairs until an inspection has been conducted.

All three projects approved by city council on Monday are not required to go through the bidding process because each falls below the city's $30,000 threshold.