Fire/police station awaits federal grant - Press-Republican: Local News

Fire/police station awaits federal grant

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Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2014 2:28 am

TUPPER LAKE — The planned emergency-services building here has permit approvals and bids in place.

But federal funding from Washington, D.C., hasn’t materialized to date.

The decision to build a new shared-services fire and police station was approved by Village of Tupper Lake voters last May, with plans to break ground on Aug. 1, 2013.

About one-third — some $1.3 million — of the total $4.5 million project is slated to come from the Department of Justice or federal Homeland Security grants.

The Village Board has said it won’t build anything until grants are secured.

LOW BIDDERS

Bids were opened for the project last August, revealing a low bid for general contractor from Bette & Cring LLC out of Watertown at $1,957,800, according to Village Clerk Mary Casagrain.

The low bid for mechanical work was from J. Hogan Refrigeration and Mechanical Inc. of Peru, at $178,427.

Plumbing and sprinkler systems had a low bid from Burns Bros. Contractors, out of Potsdam, asking $227,200 for the alternate version of the design, which includes additional square footage for the community room.

Plumbing and fire systems for the version without a community-room addition would go to Perras Excavating Inc. of Massena, at $224,875. 

The lowest bid for electrical contracting came in from Empire Northeast Inc. of Gouverneur, for $187,800.

“If we assume the alternate with additional space in the community room, that achieves a $2,551,227 total just for construction,” Casagrain said.

Additional costs for the project include land purchase, environmental testing already done at the site, engineering and design costs, plus furniture, fixtures and equipment.

Contractors have agreed to hold their bids at current pricing until April 1, according to Tupper Lake Mayor Paul Maroun.

VARIANCES ALLOWED

The shared fire-police station has gained variances from the Tupper Lake Joint Planning Board, approving the size of the parking lot and a required subdivision.

The project was also approved by the Adirondack Park Agency on Dec. 10. APA jurisdiction was triggered primarily by wetlands review.

Maroun said they hope to hear about the grant by April 1.

Engineers at Hueber-Bruer anticipated a quick, affirmative response from federal grant sources when the referendum went to village voters in early May 2013.

“Heuber-Breuer is working with Senators (Charles) Schumer and (Kirsten) Gillibrand to move the grant process forward,” Maroun said.

“Hueber-Breuer’s people tell us it’s imminent. They are confident that this money is coming, but until we hear, we can’t do anything.”

The mayor was not certain whether grant funds have been held up by federal budget issues that shut down government functions last fall.

“I know how the system works there. It can be slow. And $1.5 million is not a priority issue,” Maroun said.

DEC OK NEEDED

Work on the site still requires approval from the State Department of Environmental Conservation because soil tests indicated the building area is part of an old timber refuse dumping area.

“We will have to excavate some soils there,” Maroun told the Press-Republican. “We’re not putting snow there this year so it doesn’t get any softer. Stumps were put there for many years.”

The village has not closed on the property purchase yet, either.

“We’re renewing the option to buy from the owner, Norman Bobrow,” Maroun said.

‘HAVE TO GET GOING’

A sustained holding pattern could threaten an early start to construction if grant decisions are not made soon.

“If we don’t hear soon, I am going to pursue other avenues. We have to get this going,” the mayor said.

Casagrain said the village has paid out just over $200,000 for services thus far, and she will need to know by the end of February whether federal funds are coming.

The village plans to bond for the balance of the project cost at 2 percent for 30 years.

Email Kim Smith Dedam:kdedam@pressrepublican.com