Press-Republican

July 13, 2013

Tupper awaits word of grant for fire/police building

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

---- — TUPPER LAKE — Site testing is underway at the location chosen here for the new municipal emergency services building.

Engineers are collecting soil samples and drilling on the Santa Clara Avenue property for a site evaluation, according to Tupper Lake Mayor Paul Maroun.

“They are there working now, as we speak, doing the testing on the lot to make sure that — once the building is on it — the lot could withstand a worst-case scenario, in the event of an earthquake, for example,” he said.

COMBINED SITE

In May, residents of the Village of Tupper Lake voted in a public referendum to allow the municipality to go to bond for $3.2 million for construction of the new combined Fire/Police Station.

The 14,500-square-foot facility would house all village fire and police equipment, allowing first-responders to work from the same resource center.

The village is awaiting word on final funding to balance out the $4.5 million project.

“It provides approximately $1.5 million in grant funds,” the mayor said. “And we won’t sign any contract until we know the money is there.”

SOME COSTS BONDED

The $3.2 million bond would add approximately 34 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to village tax bills.

The cost is shared with residents of the Town of Tupper Lake via the Tupper Lake Fire Protection District, adding between 18 and 22 cents per $1,000 to the tax bills of those who live in that area.

Bonding would carry a 2 percent interest rate and extend out 30 years.

MULTIPLE SOURCES

But the village has not signed any note, and won’t, the mayor said, until the grant awards are final.

Some of the funding may come from the Department of Justice, some from the Office of Homeland Security.

“There are probably two or three funding sources. Hueber-Breuer (Construction) has a grant writer working on this. The grants awards should be made by the end of August,” Maroun said.

Village officials said in forums held last spring that checks for grant portions of the building likely would not be sent until late September or October.

CONSTRUCTION IN FALL

Designed by Hueber-Breuer, building would then begin in the fall.

“It would give us time to put the shell of the building up by winter. We’re hopeful that this grant comes through by then.”

The building is designed to Essential Services Building Codes adopted by New York state after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Those codes require reinforced concrete walls and steel framework throughout the building to ensure the emergency center is secure and left standing through an attack or natural disaster.

Soil testing on Santa Clara Avenue is the only portion of the project that has started, Maroun said.

“They found some samples that required some more testing.”

PAYMENTS

Once the village bonds for the low-interest note, annual payments would be, at most, $152,000 for 30 years.

Of that, about $121,000 is for the fire-station portion of the building. The police facility would occupy about 21 percent of the structure.

Email Kim Smith Dedam:kdedam@pressrepublican.com