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Potsdam receives complaints of bar overcrowding

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POTSDAM — Several complaints have prompted village officials to look into overcrowding in downtown bars.

A group of residents brought their complaints to the village Board of Trustees on Monday night, saying the crowd at a downtown tavern was posing a potential safety risk by blocking the exits.

“The tavern was, in their opinion, very overcrowded,” said village Planning Director Frederick J. Hanss, who would not identify which bar was the source of the complaint.

Police and the village planning office will be stopping into local bars to make sure they comply with maximum occupancy laws, according to village Administrator David H. Fenton.

“If we ever had a serious fire when one of those places is packed like they can be, we’re going to have a serious problem,” Mr. Fenton said.

The recent concern is partly in response to the nightclub fire in Brazil last week that killed 237 people.

In other business Monday, the village board approved an updated procurement policy, which changes the way the village makes large purchases and hires contractors for public projects.

Under the old policy, the board was required to choose whichever provider or contractor could provide the desired service at the lowest cost. The update includes language that allows officials to choose the best overall value, rather than the lowest bottom line.

“The lowest bid is not always the cheapest in the long term,” said Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis.

Equipment that costs more up front may be cheaper to maintain in the long run or last longer. The village board makes the final decision on what constitutes best value on a case-by-case basis.

The policy also calls for the village to purchase from local sources whenever feasible. The board is required to choose a local provider as long as it is no more than 5 percent more expensive than the cheapest bid.

It has been several years since the village updated its procurement policy, and the move was long due, according to Mr. Fenton.

“It hasn’t been updated in an awful long time, so we decided it was time,” he said.

The board also approved a request for proposal for engineering services at the Potsdam Municipal Airport. These services are currently provided by CNS Engineers, Syracuse. The request will let the village see if anyone can do the work at a lower price.

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