Ashford Board receives update on Fox Valley Road project
During the board’s Aug. 8 meeting, Code Enforcement Officer Gary Perkins said he stopped by the construction area to check up on its progress and was alarmed to discover that the materials being utilized were used, rather than new. “I started asking why it was used when [the bid] called for new piling,” he said.
Perkins said that he spoke with a representative from E&M Engineers and Surveyors, P.C., the company subcontracted by D&H Excavating of Arcade. The Arcade business had sent in the low bid of $438,707 for the Fox Valley project, as read at the Ashford Board’s Feb. 8 meeting. “I talked to the owner of the pile-driving company and he said he bid it to D&H with used piling,” Perkins said.
Highway Superintendent Tim Engels accompanied Perkins on another trip to the construction site and confirmed that the pilings being used were not in the condition listed in the bid that had been sent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and State Emergency Management Office. “FEMA called for new piling. We don’t want to jeopardize our FEMA funding,” Perkins said. “The answer is no. I will not allow used piling to make us lose FEMA, so I went back and shut them down. When we get new piling, we’ll get going again.”
The bid that was sent to FEMA stated that new materials would be used, according to New York state specifications. “They were trying to put everything they could in used,” Perkins said, referring to the overseeing construction company. “I suspect it will be another four – six weeks now.”
Town Supervisor Christopher Gerwitz said that if he had known that the winning bid contained specifications for used materials, he would have “thrown that bid out. FEMA could make us foot the bill.” Perkins said that he did not know whether or not D&H knew that E&M had been planning to utilize used piling on the Fox Valley project.
Board Member William Heim suggested contacting FEMA to see if the used pilings, which Engels called “beautiful,” could be used in the project. “Is it worth a phone call?” he asked. “If it was me, I would make the call to FEMA, to see.”
Gerwitz suggested that the other bidders for the project could take objection to a specifications change. “It’s like buying a new car and then going and it’s a 5-year-old vehicle,” he said.
Perkins said, “It could be two – 2 1/2 months to hear back and then the company would have to pay, because the project needs to be done by October.”
The decision was made to not attempt to change the bid specifications and Gerwitz said the town will not accept any used materials in the project.
In other matters:
– West Valley Site Management Program Director Paul Bembia announced that a climate change workshop was held at the West Valley Demonstration Project Aug. 2. “The purpose ... was to get input from climate change experts, in regard to how climate change should be evaluated and considered, as we gather information needed for making site decommissioning evaluations,” he said. Bembia added that the “general consensus of the four climate experts is that, over the next 100 years or so, they expect it to be warmer, wetter and with storm events that will be more extreme.”
– The WVDP quarterly public meeting will be held Aug. 22 at the site, focusing on presentations for the agencies and the public from outside erosion experts.
– An update was given about the town’s water district. According to Gerwitz, the water committee will meet again soon to decide whether or not the town will attempt to buy out the current water company.
– The board extended its gratitude to retiring Larry Nagel for his contributions to the town. Nagel worked for Ashford for 15 – 16 years.
– Board Member John Pfeffer announced that West Valley Volunteer Hose Company Fire Chief Kevin Murray was presented with the firefighter of the year award at the Cattaraugus County Fire Convention and at the Southwestern Association of Volunteer Firemen ceremony for his actions at the scene of an accident in August 2011. “He pulled a woman out of a burning car,” Pfeffer said.
– Perkins said he was approached by a local resident about erecting a windmill to provide electricity, but added, “I don’t think he’ll do it, after he read the whole law. That’s a lot of costs.”
– A discussion was held regarding the town’s nuisance law, as it applied to the “Bass Mountain Music Festival” held Aug. 3 – 5 in West Valley. The event involved electricity, two stages, 30 disk jockeys and the overnight stays of more than 400 people. “It was booming,” Gerwitz said.
Board members said they were concerned that the town laws regarding stages and campgrounds, had been violated. They said they were also not comfortable that music containing profanities was being loudly projected across the valley.
The next Ashford Town Board meeting will be held Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m.