Work on city’s UV plant moving forward

Published Oct 16, 2018 at 12:00pm

Costs related to getting the federally mandated ultraviolet facility at the city’s water filtration plant back online have gone down, following a vote by the Board of Estimate and Contract last week.

The board, comprised of Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo, Common Council President Stephanie Viscelli, and several of the mayor’s department heads, meets on Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 198 N. Washington St.

The board issued a change order on a contract with Syracuse firm C.O. Falter for work on the UV system, lowering the contract from $121,363.85 to $88,219.34 — a decrease of $33,154,51.

Public Works Commissioner Butch Conover, a member of the board, said the original deal with Falter allowed for the firm to purchase two pumps on behalf of the city. Conover said the city went ahead and purchased the pumps itself, saving time and costs in the process.

The pumps are custom built, Conover said, and needed six to eight weeks for construction and delivery. He said they would likely be installed this week, by contractors.

The UV filtration system has been a persistent headache for City Hall.

In November 2016, the system leaked chlorine twice in its first three days of operation.

Investigating the cause of the leak and and performing the necessary repairs delayed the system’s implementation into Rome’s overall filtration system, and the city was granted an extension on the federal deadline to May 2019.

Since the leaks, the city has seen increasing contract costs for the investigation, legal fees, and the repairs themselves.

However, in terms of meeting the federal deadline, Conover said the city was now “ahead of schedule.”

• The board also approved a resolution broadly allowing the city to enter agreements for projects paid for through the federal Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG.

According to the city’s 2018 CDBG spending plan, of the $1,013,789 allocated to Rome, nearly half — $480,000 — is earmarked for spending on public facilities. Economic development spending will account for $200,000 of the funding, with another $195,000 allocated for program administration. The remainder of CDBG funds go to public services and to addressing “slum and blight.”

The spending plan also notes that within the “economic development” project level, funds would go toward the Commercial Facade program and to “infrastructure improvements tied to job creation for the (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) priority projects.”

“Slum and blight” project level funds will go toward “targeted building demolitions,” and the “public services” funds will pay for “non-profit programming city-wide.”

The board also authorized the city to contract with Rochester firm Bergmann Associates for up to $25,000 for the design of “public realm improvements” to the West Dominick Street Arts District.

The improvements, according to the renderings produced by Bergmann, would include landscaping, outdoor seating and a half-wall both in front of and behind the building at 254 W. Dominick Street. Part of the building is expected to open in coming weeks as Copperccino’s coffeehouse.

The authorization will cover the cost of a site review by Bergmann officials ($2,500) and the cost of preparing designs for the project ($22,500), a process the firm estimates will take six to eight weeks.

Also approved by the board last week:

  • A resolution authorizing the city to enter an agreement with Cathedral Corporation for production of Rome’s county and school tax bills.
  • A resolution authorizing the city to contract with East Coast Companies for the restoration and polishing of the kitchen floor at the Fire Department headquarters on Black River Boulevard for $6,800.
  • A resolution renewing an agreement with First Presbyterian Church on West Court Street allowing Police Department and City Court employees to use the church’s parking lot in exchange for snow removal services.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding between the Rome Police Department and the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS), extending a prior agreement for Rome police to provide support in special or emergency scenarios at EADS, such as an active shooter or a visiting dignitary. In exchange, EADS would provide “domestic operations support,” including police use of the “firearms training simulator.”
  • A resolution authorizing the transfer of $20,000 from the “salaries” line item in the Police Department’s 2018 budget to the “training” line item in the same budget.
  • A resolution deleting one position of Planning Aide and the creation of one position of Marketing and Events Coordinator within the city’s Department of Community and Economic Development.