Press-Republican

January 15, 2013

Dannemora councilor steamed over building project

By JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

---- — DANNEMORA — A Dannemora Town Council member believes there are still some serious problems with the nearly complete Municipal Building, and she wants answers.

“We need the public to come and say enough is enough,” Councilwoman Lori Stacey told the Press-Republican recently.

“We need to get this fixed and move on.”

Stacey says plans for the new building on Route 374 in the Dannemora hamlet of Chazy Lake have been altered, with details added and taken away, without full input from the council, increasing the cost of the project.

“It’s turning into a $3 million quagmire,” she said.

She cites issues with plumbing and other problems, including no insulation in some parts of the structure.

A public meeting on the project is scheduled for 6 p.m. today at the Town Hall at 1168 Cook St. in Dannemora.

EXPEDITED AFTER FIRE

Stacey blames Town Supervisor Americo “Ves” Pivetta for not being open about what has been done — or not done — to the structure.

“The general public needs to know where their tax money is going and that there are issues with this project,” she said.

The building was erected to replace the old town garage that burned down on New Year’s Day in 2010. It was designed to include all town offices, as well as the Highway Department and its vehicles.

The previous Town Council had purchased the steel structure for the building in 2008 and was planning a five-year project that was expected to cost about $2 million. The fire expedited the need to build right away.

While the Highway Department began utilizing the building in 2011, the combined-services portion of the structure is not yet complete.

COMPLAINTS NOT NEW

Construction of the building has been a sore spot in the town for the past two years. At a heated Town Council meeting in August 2011, several residents criticized officials for skyrocketing costs.

Pivetta, who took office the day of the fire, said there have been some problems with the soffits and outside Sheetrock, and there have been some change orders, but that is normal in a project of such magnitude.

“I’ve never held a thing from the public,” he said.

He said the building has cost $2,156,000 so far, and he expects another $300,000 would finish the job.

The town received $400,000 in insurance money from the fire to help pay for the new building.

“I don’t know where she (Stacey) got her numbers from,” he said.

‘ALL ABOVE BOARD’

Stacey said there have been several change-orders on the project that were not presented to the full Town Council for approval.

Pivetta said he sits on the small building committee that decides on any changes that need to be made. He also said Stacey is invited to attend those sessions but she has not done so.

Stacey said her job keeps her from attending the meetings, held during the day.

“The contractors work during the day; we can’t do all of this at 7 p.m.,” Pivetta countered. “There was nothing done under the table.”

Email Joe LoTemplio:

jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com