Lee board tosses bids for salt/storage building

Dave Gymburch
Staff writer
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Posted 7/11/19

TOWN OF LEE — After hearing two competing companies’ comments at the last two meetings and reviewing the matter in a closed session, the Town Board has rejected both bids for an expanded new …

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Lee board tosses bids for salt/storage building

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TOWN OF LEE — After hearing two competing companies’ comments at the last two meetings and reviewing the matter in a closed session, the Town Board has rejected both bids for an expanded new salt/storage building.

The decision Tuesday night included some bid-specification issues with the low bid of $369,402, Lee Supervisor John Urtz said after the meeting, adding that the town will seek another round of bids.

Among other topics, the board approved a local law amending the zoning ordinance for solar-energy projects following a public hearing; and discussed options for the town park’s aging tennis courts that could include replacing at least one of them.

• For the proposed new salt/storage building for the town highway department, Eagle Associates of Cazenovia LLC had submitted a low bid of $369,402 while Hybrid Building Solutions LLC of Clarence Center bid $384,212. Bids were opened at the board’s May meeting.

Bid specifications called for being in business for 10 years, and the Eagle company which has operated since 2010 did not meet the requirement, Urtz said. Rather than face potential challenges in awarding a contract in that situation, the town opted to reject bids and will seek new ones “probably this fall,” he noted. The two companies were “both good bidders,” he commented.

The board earlier in the meeting was addressed by Eagle Associates President Robert McCorry, who discussed his company’s background and described how it would proceed with various construction details for the storage building.

The competing bidder, Hybrid Building Solutions, had presented its case at the board’s June meeting, including part owner Mari Louise Merkwa emphasizing the quality of her company’s work.

After McCorry spoke Tuesday night, the board moved to an approximately 15-minute closed executive session including town attorney David Rapke. Its vote to reject bids came immediately after the closed session.

• The newly approved local law clarifies where solar-commercial and solar-residential energy projects can occur in the town, instead of prior regulations that basically allowed projects overall in all zones.

The only speaker at the public hearing was town Planning Board Vice Chair Edward Davis. The zoning ordinance amendments will help “protect the general public” regarding placement of solar projects, he said. Planning Board members previously have said the town’s regulations have been vague.

The amendments include definitions for commercial and residential solar projects, plus the zones where they can occur; for example, commercial solar energy farms would be allowed only in commercially zoned areas and be subject to Planning Board review.

The local law/amendment involves the “first stages,” said Urtz, adding that now “we’ve got to develop legislation behind it.”

In another solar-related topic, resident Doris Portner asked about taxation details for her property off Route 69 that includes a commercial solar-
energy farm developed by a
company. She questioned whether the property owner can be taxed for the site in addition to the company.

Rapke said the Portners’ property assessment for taxation has increased, and “we need to look into that.” He said the town is able to assess commercial solar-energy units and their owner, a solar company, but did not know whether it also can tax the property owner in such cases.

• For the town park’s two tennis courts, whose conditions including surface cracks prompted some residents’ concerns at last month’s meeting, Urtz said online data indicated new courts could be built at a cost of $25,000-$50,000 per court.

“We may want to look at that,” said Urtz, including “whether we want to budget for new ones next year” in the 2020 town budget. He also suggested perhaps replacement of only one court could be considered, observing “we don’t have a lot of activity” at the courts overall.

In a short-term step, the courts’ cracks are to be filled this summer, at a cost that Urtz said would be similar to a 2015 expense of about $2,840 for the crack-filling. A more extensive repair would cost about $27,000 based on one estimate, and would be guaranteed for only five years, he previously has said.

The matter including whether to replace courts instead of repairing them “needs more discussion,” Urtz remarked. The courts date back to the late 1960s, he noted.

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