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Brasher officials watching costs on new town garage

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BRASHER FALLS — Brasher officials will be watching pennies as they move forward with the construction of a new town garage on County Route 53.

Town Supervisor M. James Dawson said he initially had budgeted $1.3 million for the building a couple of years ago, and the latest cost estimates from the town’s architectural firm, which were provided to board members last week, indicate it could cost anywhere from $1.2 million to $1.5 million to construct.

Part of the problem facing town officials is that they already have spent more than $100,000 on the project, including the costs to purchase the land, conduct an archaeological study, and drill and survey the property. There also have been expenses payable to the architectural firm.

“That all adds up. That takes it down to $1.2 million,” Mr. Dawson said. “I had suggested a budget two years ago of $1.3 million using casino gaming compact funds. We want to stay within budget. We’re going to keep an eye on the expenses.”

Town officials purchased 5.35 acres in Helena from Leon Dishaw for $35,000. The building project is being financed using money the town receives from the casino gaming compact.

The garage must be built to federal safety standards, which govern how some items must be addressed in the construction, according to the town supervisor.

“We have to go according to OSHA standards — proper air exchange, proper groundings, proper electrical supply, proper footings, in-floor heating. It’s a very basic building, but there are certain parameters that the town is obligated to follow by state law. Those things become an added expense,” he said.

Mr. Dawson said he’s hoping that another round of funding from the casino gaming pact will alleviate his concerns about the cost.

“We should be getting a check this calendar year for the last three quarters of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 that ended in March. I haven’t heard anything about how much it is and I haven’t been asked to submit a plan for spending. If we get another check and go $75,000 over budget, that won’t be a problem. We want to not have to use taxpayer money,” Mr. Dawson said.

With casino gaming compact money coming to the town again, board members had moved ahead with plans for the garage in June, agreeing to enter into a contract with Beardsley Design Associates, Malone, to begin work on the building. Beardsley worked with the town on the construction of its municipal building in Brasher Falls several years ago.

The town garage in Helena was purchased from the St. Lawrence Seaway for $1 in 1958, and the town had to build the foundation and walls for the steel building that had served as a storage shed for the Seaway.

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