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Mount Kisco is once again faced with reducing the scope of work for renovating two of the village’s firehouses after the cost of the project has exceeded the budget by about a combined $700,000.
Village officials revealed last week that work on the Independent Fire Company firehouse on Lexington Avenue would cost about $200,000 above the previously anticipated $3.7 million for hard construction costs, while more than $500,000 would need to be cut from work at the Mutual Engine and Hose Co. facility on Main Street to get it down to the budgeted $3,525,000.
In order to have the work on budget, Architect David Pacheco, of H2M architects + engineers, and Village Manager Ed Brancati recommended to the Village Board last week eliminating replacement of the existing exterior windows and removing the installation of LED lighting at the Independent company’s firehouse. Eliminating those two elements would save about $150,000 and as much as $40,000, respectively.
They also suggested scrapping the second-floor addition above the new bay at the Mutual firehouse, which would slash the cost at that facility by the $500,000 needed to meet the budget.
“The problem is as the calendar, of course, went, as inflation started to run away and as prices then started to run away and (the) supply chain is involved in the challenge, the numbers started to shift,” Brancati told the board at its Sept. 12 work session.
Earlier this year, the village had awarded the bid to OCS Industries as the lowest responsible bidder.
Brancati said one option was to ask OCS to recalculate expenses for the reduced scope in hopes that it comes in on target. Officials do not want to apply the $195,000 available in contingency for Independent firehouse work because if there was further escalation, the village would be in a bind, he said. If the reduced work is completed on budget, the village could put the new windows and lighting back into the project.
There is also a $185,000 contingency for the Mutual firehouse project, but a more aggressive reduction is needed to meet the budget for that facility.
Mayor Gina Picinich said that having to scale back work for these two firehouses for a second time has been a major disappointment for the village and its volunteers. In 2019, it was discovered that H2M had miscalculated the price of the work in its original design after Mount Kisco voters approved an original $10.25 million referendum in November 2017.
Not only were portions of the project at the two facilities and the Green Street firehouse reduced but the village had to ask voters to approve an additional $4 million two years later. Work at the Green Street house, home to the Union Hook and Ladder Co. and the Mount Kisco Fire Police, was completed last year on budget for between $4.7 million and $4.8 million.
Picinich said add in a global pandemic and the associated problems along with steep inflation have conspired to make the firehouse projects exceedingly difficult to complete, but frustration is mounting among the board as well as the firefighters.
“I’ve been involved with this project since I’ve been in office and it’s been extremely frustrating to me to be able to try and find the right solution within a budget, and all of those firefighters have been counting on this years before I got into it and some even longer than that,” Picinich said.
Pacheco said it would be inadvisable to re-bid the reduced scope because there’s the chance it would still come back too high for the budget.
“It’s still possible that they say it’s still too unpredictable, their supply chains are still messed up enough that we think the number is $4.2 million with the reduced scope,” he said.
Brancati said he expected OCS to return to them with new estimates for the reduced work in time for Monday evening’s Village Board meeting.
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/