By DENISE A. RAYMO
---- — MALONE — An architect is now working on the concept for a shared-transportation facility for the Town and Village of Malone and Malone Central School District.
The idea developed as the village researched possible dissolution last year. A number of potential shared-services opportunities were identified then.
The site would combine the school’s bus garage, village’s Department of Public Works and town’s Highway Garage into one facility on Route 11, and the plan could go before voters in May.
CSArch, the firm that designed a multi-million reconstruction and renovation project for the district, will give cost estimates at a joint meeting of the involved parties at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at Franklin Academy High School.
The town and village each pledged $3,000 toward CSArch’s work.
‘90 PERCENT STATE AID’
School District Superintendent Wayne Walbridge said 90 percent of the project could be funded through state aid, which means “all three will save its taxpayers some significant money.”
And potential savings could grow through “sharing the cost of fuel, bulk fluids, heavy equipment, parts and possibly human resources through attrition,” he said.
District Business Administrator Timothy Whipple said in an email that the district receives aid for the buildings it owns, which is why it is taking the lead for the project.
He will meet with State Education Department officials on exact state-aid figures but added that any space occupied by the town and village would not be eligible for aid, so that expense “would have to be borne by those municipalities.”
Walbridge said the district will also “be open to negotiating in-kind services in lieu of actual money” with the municipalities.
Village Public Works Superintendent Paul Hutchins said he wants about 20,000 square feet for his operation, roughly the same space he has now, “but we’re split up in different buildings.”
The village has six dump trucks, eight pickup trucks and specialized machines, like a vacuum truck, to house.
“With comparable space, we’ll be able to have more room for supplies, and together, we can share sand and salt piles, maybe a truck lift, and we’d have a better heating system,” he said.
It costs about $30,000 a year to heat the existing DPW garage off College Avenue, which was originally used as an ice house in the early 1900s.
The shared site “would get everything under one roof” yet still allow village crews to tend to residents’ needs.
“There are services in the village that the people expect, and they will continue to expect them in the future,” Hutchins said.
Town Supervisor Howard Maneely said the facility being discussed may have four truck bays, a break room, training room and office space for each of the superintendents.
The town sees a fueling station as a priority, which could allow other potential users to contract to fill their vehicles, he said. The school can get the cheapest price for fuel.
The town has 13 vehicles to house at a new facility, including large and small snowplows trucks, a Gradall for ditch work and two dump trucks.
The existing garage is on Route 11 in front of the Town Offices at the Malone Dufort Airport, and if available land there is selected for a shared facility, the town would need Federal Aviation Administration approval to remove the parcel from the airport footprint.
Maneely said the parties involved want to use land that is already off the tax rolls and hope to have the design and financing details done as quickly as possible so the plan can go before voters in May when school budgets are up for vote.
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