Opinion sought on pool bid vote

Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — City Council members may — or may not — be ready on Monday night to reject the bids for the project to replace the old Thompson Park pool.

City Manager Rick Finn is recommending rejection of the bids after City Engineer Justin L. Wood determined the total projected cost of the pool and bathhouse project would be $3,042,193.

Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr. favors rejecting the bids. In hopes of getting support for the project, Councilman Cody Horbacz plans to offer a resolution to accept the bids.

“This is the only opportunity to get it done,” he said Friday.

Councilman Horbacz campaigned on getting a new pool built when he ran three years ago. He needs the support of three other council members. Ryan Henry Wilkinson and Lisa A. Ruggiero are expected to support moving forward with the project.

Councilwoman Sarah V. Compo has said she would not support spending more than the $2.4 million bonded for the project.

The three council members did not respond to numerous phone calls from a reporter.

When they were opened last week, bids were $2,515,671, $300,000 higher than expected.

Last year, council members agreed not to spend any more money than the $2.4 million bond they had approved.

If the project was to move forward, council members would need to take money from the city’s fund balance to make up the difference.

“I just don’t see that happening,” Mayor Butler said Friday.

The mayor said he doesn’t see the current council taking any other action on the pool project other than rejecting the bids on Monday night.

If it doesn’t work out on Monday, a future council, however, could feasibly bring it up again. A new mayor and two new council members will be elected in November.

“I can’t predict the future,” Mayor Butler said.

According to a memo earlier this week, the city spent $369,522 to design the pool and another $157,000 to demolish the old one.

A $200,000 state grant would reduce the amount of the bond to $2.2 million, according to the memo. As a result, the city would have to add a total of $900,000 for the project to proceed.

According to the opened bids, Con Tech Building Systems submitted a low bid of $2,130,631 for the general contracting work; Hyde-Stone Mechanical Contractors, Watertown, for $82,240 for the heating and ventilation job; $151,000 by Tmachanical, Glenfield; and Ridley Electric, Syracuse, had the only electrical bid at $149,800.

The new pool would replace the 94-year-old pool that closed after the 2013 season because of its deteriorating condition. The two other outdoor pools are at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds and North Elementary School.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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