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Contractors briefed on county office plan

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LOWVILLE — Lewis County legislators held a prebid conference Friday on the proposed county office building.

Nine contracting companies signed into the meeting, with representatives from Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, and several legislators on hand to answer their questions.

Rick W. Tague, president of Bernier, Carr, described the building as “a basic box.” Though it will have two stories, he said, the roof deck will be flat to allow the construction of a third story in the future, if necessary.

Potential bidders asked questions about excavation of the site, spoil sites for removed materials and construction of sidewalks.

Mr. Tague outlined the projected schedule for the project. A mid-October start date is projected, with construction expected to be completed by the end of October 2014.

Philip R. Collins of Meridian Construction, Colton, asked who would be responsible for snow removal at the site.

“Phase one should be done before snow,” Mr. Tague said.

Legislator Paul M. Stanford, D-Watson, questioned the accuracy of the mid-October start date, noting, “We have village issues not answered yet,” referring to questions about the capacity of the village sewage treatment system and safety of the village’s Stowe Street.

“I think it’s doable,” Mr. Tague said.

Legislator Philip C. Hathway, R-Harrisville, said, “That’s not his problem. That’s ours.”

“I really don’t think that’s a problem,” said Legislator Jerry H. King, R-West Leyden, who said he has met with village officials.

The county and village have agreed to conduct sewer and traffic studies, which have yet to be scheduled.

Mr. Stanford asked how much construction traffic could be expected from deliveries of stone and other materials.

When the possibility of alternative routes to the site was discussed, Matthew J. VanWagenen of Adhan Piping Co. Inc., Cortland, said, “If we have to take certain routes, that needs to be established as part of the bid. If I call Virkler’s and then the parameters change, his price could change, as well.”

Constableville legislative candidate Duane C. DeLair also was at the meeting. He said that, before contractors put time into submitting a bid, they should know the county is not prepared to move ahead with the project. He then offered copies of a letter from Associated General Contractors of New York, addressed to legislative Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan, voicing concerns “that the finance and other details of this project are not too sufficiently developed to allow for this project.”

Jack T. Bush, R-Brantingham, said he had conducted a straw poll and has seven “yes” votes if the bids come in within the budget. “There are problems, but nothing we can’t overcome.”

Following the meeting, contractors were invited to visit the site on Outer Stowe Street.

The location now houses a 50-by-100-foot storage building southwest of the public safety building. Bids are due in the next week for the purchase and removal of that building.

Legislators had hoped to relocate the building but it was discovered to be cost prohibitive. Instead, a new storage building will be constructed behind the Department of Social Services building. Bids for that project also are due in the next week.

Bids for the county office building are due Sept. 19.

Legislators may award contracts if the bids are within the range of the budget.

Mr. Tague said that after 45 days, contractors no longer are obligated to honor their bids.

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