The Mount Kisco Village Board approved a more than $5.2 million bid for the renovation and expansion of the Green Street firehouse, then quickly accepted a change order which lowered the cost by more than $500,000.
The original bid from the Westchester-based GTL Construction, LLC was for $5,247,987, before the board agreed to a reduction of $548,299. As a result, the Green Street firehouse work is now $267,472 below budget, said Village Manager Ed Brancati.
Brancati explained that a change order of that size may appear unusual but when contractors bid on projects, they don’t want their submission to be so low that there’s no way that they can make money on the work. GTL Construction bid on the project in early June.
“It makes sense if you don’t have the number but you need to submit something,” Brancati said. “You can’t really afford to be on the low side.”
The work on the Green Street firehouse is part of the $10.25 million firehouse referendum that was approved by voters in November 2017. An additional $4 million in borrowing was authorized last year because of escalation of costs and errors made by H2M architect + engineers.
It is projected that the village will go out to bid for work on the municipality’s two other firehouses, the Mutual Hose and Engine Co. facility on Main Street and the Independent Fire Co. structure on Lexington Avenue, during the fourth quarter of this year, Brancati said.
The Green Street firehouse bid kicked off discussion by the board last week regarding the village’s capital projects that are on tap for this year and whether any should be scaled back or postponed.
Trustee Karen Schleimer said in light of the tenuous economic situation, she questioned whether the board should hold off on the firehouse work.
“I just think that it’s worth taking a step back and just reviewing it and make sure it makes sense right now, and certainly the fire department has been waiting a very long time but it doesn’t have to be right now,” Schleimer said.
However, the remainder of the board said the borrowing has already been authorized and the public has been expecting the work to be done for nearly three years.
“I think it’s important to have the construction catch up to the money that we’ve already taken,” said Mayor Gina Picinich. “I also think it’s important that we listen to the will of the community who have waited for firehouse construction to move forward at two different price points.”
The board also moved forward on authorizing the expenditure of just over $1.1 million to install the Village Hall elevator and replace the exterior doors of the building. The village had $700,000 set aside for the work – $500,000 of the municipality’s money and another $200,000 in state funding. The elevator will cost $1,084,440 while the doors will run about $36,000.
Picinich said officials will now need to decide whether to reduce the scope of the $5 million streetscape project. The available money for the streetscape will likely pay for the extra costs associated with the elevator and doors at Village Hall.
“We’re going to have to pull that money back and we’re going to have to pull the scope of that project back and allocate some of the dollars for the elevator,” she said. “But we can’t print money and we can’t make up more money, so that’s a possible solution.”
Trustee Peter Grunthal suggested the board use the money that is in the contingency line for the current fiscal year – $364,682 as of last week – to put toward the extra expense for the Village Hall work.
But the rest of the board differed, explaining that given the uncertain economic times, the streetscape project may have to be reduced.
“It’s a very, very stressful time for so many people and this is not the time where we say we have it, just use it,” said Deputy Mayor Jean Farber.
The board unanimously approved the bid for $1,121,714 for the Village Hall elevator and doors. It plans to have a larger discussion about its entire capital project schedule at its next meeting on Aug. 3.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/