MASSENA — With the village of Massena and Massena Central School District set to share a salt storage facility at the Department of Public Works, school officials are hoping to save money by purchasing their road salt in bulk through the same contract used by the village.
“We’re working on a salt storage space shared with the village of Massena. They’re building a new salt shed and what we’re hoping is we can piggyback on their salt purchasing and control our salt costs by purchasing in bulk through the same contract,” District Facilities Committee Chairman Kevin Perretta said.
The goal would be to have the district purchase its own salt so their contractor will only need to provide labor. If that plans works out, he said they would “have a little bit better control over those costs for the winter conditions we have to deal with every year.”
Mr. Perretta said, by piggybacking with the village, they would also no longer need to drive to Barrett’s to pick up salt.
The district’s use of the salt storage building that’s being constructed by the village was a subject of conversation during the recent meeting of village trustees.
Trustee Francis J. Carvel had suggested that, to bring the cost down, they reduce the size of the building. But Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan Fayad said 50 feet by 50 feet of the structure belonged to the Department of Public Works, and the school district would be using 30 feet by 50 feet. The salt used by the district would be separated from the village’s pile by a divider wall.
Mr. Carvel asked why they were constructing a building for the school.
“We’re building it for ourselves. The school wanted a portion of it. One third of the building is going to be dedicated for the school’s use,” Mr. Fayad told him.
“I can’t see why we’re spending $352,000 to satisfy the school,” Mr. Carvel said.
Mr. Fayad said the school had not required a village contribution when work was done on a shared facility.
“By rights, they had a $100,000 capital project last year. They’ve got another one coming up this year. By rights, by contract, we should be giving them the money for those capital projects. Have they asked us for any money? Not one penny. We should also be paying utility costs on that back portion. Have they charged us anything? They charged us for two years. The last 18 years, they haven’t charged us anything. You’re opening up a Pandora’s Box here,” he said.
A vote to approve construction of the salt storage facility passed by a narrow margin, with Mayor Timmy J. Currier, Deputy Mayor Matthew J. LeBire and trustee Christine Winston voting in favor of the construction, and Mr. Carvel and trustee Albert “Herb” Deshaies voting against it.
Trustees had tabled action in July after bids came in higher than budgeted. Because of a delay in the project, the anticipated cost was $398,000, and the two lone bids came in higher than budgeted. Mr. Fayad was able to lower the cost when re-presenting the plans to trustees this month.
The village has a $225,000 grant for the project, which must be used by the spring,