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Stockholm balks at covering portion of Tri-Town Community Center chiller barrel improvements

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WINTHROP - Stockholm town officials have balked at a request from Brasher’s town supervisor asking for the town to pay the final $1,000 of $26,000 in improvements to the chiller barrel at the Tri-Town Community Center.

Stockholm Town Supervisor Clark S. Decker said the recreation commission had opened bids for planned updates to the chiller barrel, and the low bid of $25,985 had been submitted by Goodrich Refrigeration, Brasher Falls.

He said Brasher Town Supervisor M. James Dawson said the Brasher Town Board would allocate $25,000 from its compact fund revenues for the project, but had suggested the Stockholm Town Board contribute the remaining $985.

“Jim wanted us to share the pain,” Councilman Fernando Rufa, the Stockholm Town Board’s liaison to the Brasher-Stockholm Recreation Commission, told his fellow board members.

Councilwoman Nancy J. Lynch countered that it had been her understanding the recreation commission had been setting aside monies for the chiller barrel repairs.

“Why isn’t this coming out of the rec budget?” she asked.

Councilman Robert J. McCuin said the town boards in Stockholm and Brasher have historically contributed funding for major capital projects at the arena.

“What if we just say no?” Ms. Lynch asked. “Why couldn’t rec pay the $985?”

Mr. Rufa suggested Mr. Dawson simply didn’t want the Stockholm Town Board to get away without contributing to the project.

Ms. Lynch asked where the funds would come from if Stockholm made the contribution.

“Contingency,” Mr.Decker responded.

“When is contingency going to run out?” Ms. Lynch wondered aloud.

The Stockholm Town Board opted to table the funding request for one month.

During their meeting the following day, Mr. Dawson told his board members that they had received only one bid for the work after advertising it, and that was from Goodrich Refrigeration. He said the original estimate for the work was $50,000 to $70,000.

The $25,985 covers only the material and not the labor, he said.

“Our bids came in much lower than we anticipated,” the town supervisor said. “We’ve got $25,000 committed.”

Mr. Dawson said they had pledged $25,000 for the project using their casino gaming compact funds. He said he had talked with Mr. Decker Tuesday about supporting the project.

“Apparently they didn’t take any action last night,” he told his board members, noting he would check with Stockholm officials to “see what they’re going to do” before moving forward with the project.

Terry Goodrich, whose firm, Goodrich Refrigeration, works on the refrigeration system at the Tri-Town arena, had told town officials in May the Brasher-Stockholm Recreation Commission wanted to do some preventative work on the infrastructure at the arena.

“They would like to make some improvements,” he told the Stockholm Town Board at its May meeting. “The equipment is getting pretty aged. They want to make some piecemeal improvements, including replacing the chiller barrel that is used to cool the Brine. The work should improve the reliability of the system and lessen the likelihood of failure. The compressors are fine. The pumps are fine. Rather than spending $150,000 to $200,000 for a new system, they are talking in the neighborhood of $50,000 to $70,000,” Mr. Goodrich said.

He said Brasher-Stockholm Recreation Commission would be looking for the support of the town boards in Brasher and Stockholm to go out for financing so the cost of the work can be paid off over the next few years without an increase in the existing budget allocations from the municipalities.

The chiller barrel is a critical component of the refrigeration system. Mr. Goodrich said the existing chiller barrel has done good work.

“The chiller is from 1970-something. The refrigeration system was an old air conditioning unit. This is the most energy-efficient arena in the north country,” he noted.

Jeremiah D. Mahoney, chairman of the Brasher-Stockholm Recreation Commission, has said they were attempting to avoid any potential problems that might occur during the ice season, costing them lost revenue if the chiller system went out.

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