Massena trustees table action on salt storage site

Massena village trustees have tabled taking any action on the construction of a salt storage shed at the Department of Public Works after bids came over the budgeted amount. Bob Beckstead/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Bids to construct a new cold storage building that will be located behind the village’s Department of Public Works came in lower than budgeted last month.

However, the dilemma now facing the village is that bids to construct a new salt storage facility have come in higher than budgeted and they would be on the hook for $173,000 of the cost.

During their June meeting, village trustees had awarded the bid to construct the new 5,000-square-foot cold storage building at the Robinson Road site to Heritage Homes, Inc. for $287,000. They had estimated a $400,000 cost for the building and received four bids for the project.

But, during their meeting this week, Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad told trustees that bids to construct a new salt storage building came in higher than budgeted. Even with a $225,000 grant, the village would be responsible for paying $173,000 toward the cost.

“The project was anticipated a couple of years ago at a cost of $300,000,’ Mr. Fayad said.

However, trustees delayed the project, the anticipated cost increased to $398,000, and the two lone bids came in higher than budgeted — Heritage Homes, Inc. of Massena at $390,000 and T.J. Fiacco Construction of Norwood at $437,000.

The new salt storage building would replace one that’s currently at the old Department of Public Works site on South Main Street. The department cleared a space behind its Robinson Road site and received a $225,000 grant to make the move. That grant must be used by the spring or it will expire, according to Mr. Fayad.

“If we don’t spend that grant money, then we’re going to lose it,” he said.

Deputy Mayor Matthew J. LeBire wondered if there was any way to reduce the cost of the building.

“I’m not sure how you would get it down. I’m not sure if there is a way. As you know, we try to absorb a lot of the work in-house by ourselves. Any work we can do, we will. We’re going to do that as well. I’m not sure how much more we can cut this thing down,” Mr. Fayad said.

Trustee Francis J. Carvel said his concern was the high price for a salt storage building.

“It seems to me we’re going to a glorified building to put salt,” he said.

“I don’t believe it’s glorified. It’s a building that’s going to accommodate our needs,” Mr. Fayad said.

Mr. LeBire asked if the building needed to be the size that was designed.

“My understanding is the school has approached us about utilizing part of that building,” he said.

Mr. Fayad said that the Massena Central School District planned to use 30 percent of the building for its salt storage.

“If the school could use 30 percent of the building, wouldn’t it be indicative the building is 30 percent more than we need? If we don’t need 30 percent for the village’s purposes, why are we building it that big?” Mr. LeBire said.

Mr. Fayad said he had received a request from the Massena Central School District to use a portion of the building. He noted that the village and school district already share the joint transportation facility and have their own accounts. When the gas pumps were recently upgraded, the school district absorbed the total cost.

“They have another capital project coming up this year. I do not believe that they intend on billing us for this,” he said. “By contract, we should be absorbing a portion of that. We haven’t been doing that for years.”

Trustee Christine Winston wondered if they could consider a cheaper version of the building “considering the situation we’re in with current economic times.”

“I’d be willing to do anything. Are we eliminating the school’s portion of this thing? I’m not sure how you want to address this. I personally believe, I think it’s going to cost more in the long run if we eliminate the school” from the project, Mr. Fayad said.

He said, if the project was modified, they would have to draw up new specifications, advertise the project and seek bids again, which would delay the process.

“There’s no reason we can’t use our old facility again this coming year if that’s the direction you want to go,” Mr. Fayad said.

Mr. LeBire suggested tabling any action until he could meet with Mr. Fayad and Ms. Winston to look at their options.

“I don’t know how we can responsibly say yes and build more than we need,” he said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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