Share this article

print logo

Cattaraugus lawmakers approve DPW facility despite doubling of cost

LITTLE VALLEY – When a building grows from an approved three-sided structure to a fully enclosed facility with concrete floors and a fire-suppression system, some Cattaraugus County legislators take notice and ask questions.

When the price tag on the building doubles, they tend to get vocal.

That’s what happened when the matter made its way out of the Department of Public Works Committee and to the floor of the Legislature on Wednesday. The resolution to authorize the purchase of the fire-suppression system was met with disapproval from District 4 Legislator William E. Sprague, D-Yorkshire.

“I don’t think this is an expenditure we need to have,” Sprague said. “We agreed to build a three-sided barn at less than half the cost that we are looking at now. This is an expense we just don’t need, especially after what we have heard about our nursing homes.”

He was referring to the fact that the county nursing home in Machias will probably need a subsidy this year.

The DPW project, approved as a three-sided barn in 2011, was budgeted for about $400,000. It has since grown into a cold-storage facility that carries a price tag upward of $800,000.

“I think we need to look long and hard at this one before we vote,” Sprague said. “I agree that we approved the $400,000 building, but it has ballooned to $800,000. We need to step up for our constituents and vote ‘no’ on this.”

Nevertheless, with Public Works Commissioner Joseph Pillittere acknowledging that the fire-suppression system is the last part needed for the project and with materials for the facility sitting in the DPW lot awaiting approval for construction to start, a roll call vote saw the approval granted by a weighted vote of 11.682 to 8.21.

The cold-storage facility, at the Five Points location in Little Valley, is estimated to cost $787,595, according to Pillittere. A memorandum dated October 2012 shows that the building had been projected to cost $407,595. That award included the frame, shell, doors and crane. Other work driving up the costs includes the foundation and floor, sprinkler and fire alarm systems, drainage and electrical systems and site work.

The building is expected to be complete by Oct. 31.