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Council may vote on project changes

A West Seneca contractor has pledged to renew work today on the reconstruction project along Lewiston Road and Main Street after the city proposed a slew of changes in the agreement.

The changes, on which the City Council is scheduled to vote today, total nearly $600,000 for Man O'Trees. The money will be shifted from other items in the $7.71 million contract and will not increase the city's costs, according to the resolutions.

Earlier this month, Dave Pfeiffer, owner of Man O'Trees, claimed the city owed him more than$2 million for unanticipated costs and had not paid him since February. Officials said they were considering other options, but relations have improved, Pfeiffer said.

"We're mobilizing there right now, and we're going to go full bore [today]," Pfeiffer said. "We have a long way to go, but they have acted in good faith and have some partial things worked out, so we've agreed to move."

Preiffer previously said he had not devoted a full crew to the project because of the financial dispute. He estimated that a quarter of the work had been completed.

"We're going to see what happens [today]," Mayor Paul A. Dyster said. "I will pull the resolution if we feel we're not seeing what's happened in the past [get resolved]."

Officials said three-quarters of the southbound lane from Bath Avenue to College Avenue was nearly complete, and Dyster said the city wants that entire section fully paved this season.

The project has been delayed for years for various reasons, including the need for radiological testing, the contractor's license needed to handle the material and negotiations with CSX Corp.

Part of the dispute centered around radioactive material. Pfeiffer said his crews found six times the amount of expected material, though city officials attributed that to lack of testing on Bath and Findlay Drive.

To account for that, one change calls for reimbursing Man O'Trees more than $295,000. Other reimbursements include:

*More than $177,000 for asphalt and fuel costs and related expenses.

*Nearly $94,000 for water line abandonment and replacement.

*Nearly $21,000 for underground utility work.

*$8,000 for a 200-day interval for continuous air monitoring as requested by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The resolutions stipulate that more than $271,000 is eligible for 95 percent reimbursement because of state agreements.

e-mail: cspecht@buffnews.com