Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 19:01
After balking over finance charges, trustees gain concession from water tower maintenance firm
You couldnâ€™t blame Village of Fredonia officials for feeling a bit like customers dickering for a better deal at a car dealership during the last Village Board meeting.
That was especially the case when a representative from the company hoping to get the contract to maintain the villageâ€™s water tower voiced the familiar sales refrain, â€śIâ€™ll have to check with my manager,â€ť while discussing the pending contract.
Village officials previously said they liked the idea of turning over the cost of maintaining its municipal water tower to Dixon Engineering, a Michigan firm which specializes in the work.
The firm said it would care for the villageâ€™s 30,000-gallon tower â€” including repainting it and relocating the array of cellular antennas â€” for a total cost of $303,000 over five years.
The recoating of the interior and exterior of the tower is expected to cost $170,000.
Although supportive of the maintenance plan, officials withheld final approval of the proposal last month over uncertainty about a proposed financing charge.
A preliminary proposal noted the included 5% finance charge would amount to $30,000 over the life of the contract.
â€śWith interest rates where they are, we could get the money locally for lower than that â€” probably around 3%,â€ť said Trustee Jill Bertram.
Trustee Scott Ehaney, who was chairing the board meeting in the absence of Village President Chuck Lapicola, agreed.
â€śMoney is cheap right now. We can do better than 5%,â€ť Ehaney said.
In the midst of the discussion, Dixon Engineering representative Jim Orr said he would e-mail the home office to see if a lower rate could be negotiated.
Just a few minutes later, Orr returned to the board room and read a message from his boss that said, â€śLetâ€™s get this done tonight.â€ť
A 3% interest charge was authorized.
Trustees said the savings expected from the lower finance charge may allow a reconsideration of the board decision not to include the village name on the exterior of the tower when it is repainted.
The company said it would charge $6,500 to paint the village name in block lettering on the tower, or $7,500 if the name is painted in script.
Trustees voted 4-3 to eliminate the lettering last month, with some officials contending the tower is not visible enough to justify that expense.
The board voted unanimously to authorize Dixon to prepare a detailed maintenance report, a document that can be as many as 100 pages and is a precursor to a finalized contract.
Formal approval of the Dixon contract is on Thursdayâ€™s Village Board agenda.