BRASHER FALLS - Brasher officials will be watching their pennies as they move forward with the construction of a new town garage on County Route 53.
Town Supervisor M. James Dawson said he had initially budgeted $1.3 million for the new building a couple of years ago, and the latest cost estimates from the towns architectural firm, which were provided to board members last week, indicate it could cost anywhere from $1.2 million to $1.5 million to construct it.
Part of the problem facing town officials is that theyve already spent more than $100,000 on the project, including the cost to purchase the land, conduct an archaeological study, drill and survey the property. There have also been expenses payable to their architectural firm.
That all adds up. That takes it down to $1.2 million (in the budget), Mr. Dawson said. I had suggested a budget two years ago of $1.3 million using casino gaming compacts funds. We want to stay within budget. Were going to keep an eye on the expenses.
Town officials purchased 5.35 acres of property from Leon Dishaw on County Route 53 in Helena for $35,000. The building project is being financed using money the town receives from the casino gaming compact rather than financing the project as an additional burden for taxpayers.
The garage must be built to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, which dictates how some items must be addressed in the construction, according to the town supervisor.
We have to go according to OSHA standards - proper air exchange, proper groundings, proper electrical supply, proper footings, in-floor heating. Its a very basic building, but there are certain parameters that the town is obligated to follow by state law. Those things become an added expense, he said.
The floor will be sealed and painted to increase its longevity, Mr. Dawson said.
We want something thats going to last for several generations, he said.
Hes hoping that another round of funding from the casino gaming pact will alleviate his concerns about the cost.
We should be getting a check this calendar year for the last three quarters of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 that ended in March. I havent heard anything about how much it is and I havent been asked to submit a plan for sending. If we get another check and go $75,000 over budget, that wont be a problem. We want to not have to use taxpayer money, Mr. Dawson said.
With casino gaming compact money coming to the town again, board members had moved ahead with plans for the garage in June, agreeing to enter into a contract with Beardsley Design Associates, Malone, to begin work on the building. Beardsley Design Associates had worked with the town on the construction of their municipal building in Brasher Falls several years ago.
The current town garage located in Helena was purchased from the St. Lawrence Seaway for $1 in 1958, and they had to build the foundation and walls for the steel building that had served as a storage shed for the Seaway.
The building is not big enough for the highway departments vehicles, hot air furnaces are hanging from the ceiling and some of the walls are crumbling and have needed repairs, according to town officilas.
A salt shed and sand are also kept at a separate location owned by the town on Meyers Road, meaning highway personnel have to travel from the town garage to that site every time they need to load up.
Preliminary sketches on the new garage had already been changed in some areas. For instance, the floor plan had been changed to provide Highway Superintendent Larry Hewlett with a smaller office space. The entryway to the building will also be shortened, and the break room has been extended.