Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 19:01
After balking over finance charges, trustees gain concession from water tower maintenance firm
You couldn’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 village’s water tower voiced the familiar sales refrain, “I’ll have to check with my manager,” 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 village’s 30,000-gallon tower — including repainting it and relocating the array of cellular antennas — 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.
“With interest rates where they are, we could get the money locally for lower than that — probably around 3%,” said Trustee Jill Bertram.
Trustee Scott Ehaney, who was chairing the board meeting in the absence of Village President Chuck Lapicola, agreed.
“Money is cheap right now. We can do better than 5%,” 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, “Let’s get this done tonight.”
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 Thursday’s Village Board agenda.