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The Common Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ask the county to honor commitments it made to the city and approve contracts for the construction of the North County Office Building on the harborfront.

Discussion centered around bids that were opened May 17 and expire July 15. The low bid of Whipple-Allen Co. of Erie, Pa., was $3,678,700, lower than the $4.5 million in bonds the County Legislature authorized last June.

The bids were sought by the National Development Council Housing Development Corp., a non-profit unit headquartered in New York City that would construct and own the building. The county would lease it and own it after an unspecified period of time.

The financial arrangements are necessary as part of the private capital needed for the $2.7 million Urban Development Action Grant the city received from the federal government.

The city then lent the funds to the developer of the Sheraton Harborfront Inn, which is part of the complete development package. The third part of the package is housing and retail space to be constructed by Wilmorite Inc. of Rochester.

County Executive Andrew Goodell has been negotiating with the National Development Council Housing Development Corp. on going through the corporation rather than having the county build and own the facility.

At Tuesday's Council meeting, Mayor Gregory Krauza made public a letter from Daniel Marsh III, president of the corporation, to Goodell. Included was a comparative analysis of the costs of having the county construct the building with having the corporation float tax-exempt bonds to finance its construction.

The figures showed the county's construction costs would be $1,142 higher than the corporation's.

The main difference is that the corporation was able to bid the project as a single unit, but the county would need to seek bids on four separate contracts: general construction, plumbing, mechanical work and electrical work. The savings were listed at $183,000, which balanced the $40,000 in overhead and $162,158 in transaction costs for the corporation.

Goodell had said the transaction costs for closings, bond counsel and other fees would have been in the neighborhood of $200,000.

Additionally, the corporation would fix its interest rate to borrow the funds at the same rate the county could get in the market.

In other business, the Council unanimously denied permits for a kennel on Lake Shore Drive West and a domino club at 109 Main St. in the harborfront area. Both were considered as changing the character of the neighborhood.

Third Ward Councilman Mark Speziale Jr. announced city would be embarking on a six-year capital program. He asked that requests be turned in by July 2.

Krauza, Second Ward Councilman Frank Gawronski, Fiscal Affairs Officer Sally McCluskey and Speziale will review the requests. The capital budget would bring greater efficiency in government, he said.

In a report on recent flooding, Public Works Director Michael Bednar noted that an 18-inch storm sewer on Dove Street backed up, and city workers later found it was full of tree roots.

They dug up the pipe and cleaned it, but residents were inconvenienced for two days.

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