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Thread: Lancaster tables Depew-Lancaster Baseball bids award resolution

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    Lancaster tables Depew-Lancaster Baseball bids award resolution

    At its work session meeting, the Lancaster Town Board decided to table a resolution that would have awarded a total of $1,538,788 in bid awards for the construction of the Lancaster-Depew indoor baseball training field to be located in Westwood Park.

    Not attending the work session, the writer asked at the prefile resolution public comment section why the resolution was being tabled. Supervisor Dino Fudoli replied that he had spoken to the baseball league earlier in the evening. “When the bids came in last Thursday their total was close to the high mark that the bonds were issued for ($1.70 million). This raised some caution on our part to make sure to don’t go over that number. Usually some projects have a 10% contingency, this one has a 5% contingency, and right now we are at about 3%. So it’s a little bit tight so we decided that we would get together with Mr. Dave Mansell, the one spearheading this project and with our legal counsel Jeff Swiatek as well as to what our options are. On Wednesday we are going to have a conference call to discuss the issues and see what can be done to make sure we don’t hit that high mark number or wind up with a project that is 95% done and we run out of money for it.”

    Chowaniec: Considering that, what I wanted to speak about tonight was in the same vein and I would like to make my comments know before your Wednesday meeting. Please keep in mind that I have been a supporter and advocate of this project since its inception in August of 2012. But since that time I have seen its size and cost grow from the 2012 estimate of $750,000. Then in November it was somewhere in the $1.2 million to $1.4 million estimated cost range. Then a detailed PowerPoint presentation was made by DLB in March and the total project cost was estimated at high end to be $1.6 million.”

    “When I am looking at tonight’s bid award resolution (1.54 million) I have no idea if those bids include earlier total project work and costs of $1.6 million. The building construction cost bid of $1.24 million falls in line with the March estimate. But in reviewing the other bid awards, do they include:

    The parking and site work: from $150,000 to $200,000
    Cages/Turfs/Equipment: from $70,000 to $85,000
    Legal fees: from $15,000 to $20,000
    A&E costs: from $50,000 to $55,000

    Supervisor Fudoli: The total overall cost of the project under the resolution is not my resolution.

    Resolution sponsor Councilman Ronald Ruffino: Remember that going back the DLB had two designs. They had a small design and a big design. So the number is skewed because of that.

    Chowaniec: I understand that the small design was estimated to cost $750,000, but this design could d be approaching $2 million.

    Supervisor Fudoli: And that Lee is what is putting up a red flag for us. Ultimately there has to be a comfort level amongst the board, as well as the DLB board, that the project is going to be paid for by the baseball people and we have an obligation as taxpayers that this is does not fall on them and that the league can afford to do so. So I think it is a prudent thing to do to table the resolution and ask those questions of the DLB. The league was very comfortable today that their capital fundraising fund that they are about to launch will be successful. So things look good on the financing side but the problem but look what happened with the police/courts building when construction began. They found a barrel in the ground, a silo, whatever that was dead center in the foundation. I am not saying that there will be any surprises here at Westwood Park when the facility will be built, but you never know.

    Chowaniec: The board is well aware that I support this project. There are things I want to ask tonight that helps make it clear to me to answer others who are not supportive of this project and chide me for my support. So:

     It is my understanding that this project is not funded through the town budget, correct?

    Supervisor Fudoli: No it is not coming out of the budget. It is being paid for by the baseball league. My concern is that it is a town project and the town bonded for $1.7 million and we don’t want the project to exceed that limit.

     Chowaniec: Is this going to be a pay-to-play only training facility or will there be services provided to town residents without cost; like to the little league teams in the Depew-Lancaster League?

    Supervisor Fudoli: Travel teams are going to pay to use the fields; much like if you rented a shelter or a pavilion.

     Chowaniec: It is my understanding that the town will provide the same services as it does for the girls Ponytails League. But the Pony Tails League doesn’t have air conditioning provided in the summer or heat in the winter months. Is the town going to pick up the costs of cooling and heating this training facility? That could be a high cost number.

    Supervisor Fudoli: I imagine it’s not going to be used much in the summer. If you get a heavy stretch of rainy days in the summer some teams may practice in there.

    Chowaniec: In their March presentation the League maid the point that the facility would be in operation all year and that was necessary to pay off the debt.

    Supervisor Fudoli: But if it’s 75 degrees outside and sunny there is no reason to expect the place will be used much.

    Chowaniec: But the place will still be cooled for those who do use it.

    Supervisor Fudoli: But I have been coaching for 10 years and believe other coaches like me would rather practice outside than indoors where you are limited as to what you can do.

    Chowaniec: We differ on that point. The facility is being constructed with the intent of all season use and will be cooled.

     Chowaniec: Cost of water and sewer hookups that are to be provided by the town were estimated anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000. Has that number been determined?

    Supervisor Fudoli: We have not gotten that far yet.

     Chowaniec: Regarding the paving costs and the number listed in the bid award, does this mean that a private contractor will be used instead of town provided service?

    Supervisor Fudoli: It is my understanding that if the highway department can do it cheaper that will be considered.

    Town Engineer Robert Harris: The contract options are written for a private company ($102,000) but the decision afterwards can be made that if we want to pull something out.

    Lastly, this is information that needs to be put out to the public because people like me believe this project has merit. I am glad you are deferring this for further conversations to ensure this project comes in under current bonding limit and with assurance that DLB can meet its financial obligations.

    Non supporters have voiced concerns over risk and that there is no free lunch; that taxpayer money is always involved. Where I understand the money to offset costs for water and sewer hookups, and utility costs come from the Parks & Recreation fees that are paid specifically for recreation use projects and improvements, some believe it is still taxpayer money loaded into the purchase price of a new home. Please keep all those considerations in mind when you hold your Wednesday conference call and ensure that this project holds taxpayers harmless.

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    This is a concern, they need to make adjustments regarding the cost factor. I am not liking the way this is headed.

    Town Hall expansion went from 1.7 to 3.2, I do not want to see this happening to the field. I also am not in agreement with the residents footing the utility bills.

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    The project should be tabled, permanently. This is a business that a public entity like Lancaster has no business being in.

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    Wait, the building is going to be cooled too? Utility cost alone should kill this.

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    Please note my previous posts related to this topic. This deal will doom taxpayers. There is no way an entity like Lancaster/Depew Baseball deserves a facility that should be reserved for high schools and colleges, let alone at taxpayers expense. The Town of Lancaster in no way should be responsible for ANY form of financial support for this project. If they want it, raise the funds, purchase the land and build/care of the facility should fall completely on that organization. This is a senseless waste of money.

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    This is one of the reasons that i'm the process of buying land in Elma. Boneheaded decisions like this are what drove my taxes up from 4200 in 2005 to 6900 in 2013.

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