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Designer chosen for city building

The Saratoga Springs City Council accepted LaBella Associates, P.C., of Rochester, as low bidder for a proposed public safety facility's design and construction management at its Tuesday, Dec. 4, meeting.

Commissioner of Finance Matthew McCabe noted the vote does not authorize expending money on the project, it merely recognizes LaBella as low bidder of four applicants for the design phase of the project, and will allow the incoming City Council to negotiate with the company for design and construction contracts.

Right now, we are just picking the right team to lead the project, McCabe said.

The vote was not unanimous, with Commissioner of Public Works Thomas McTygue and Commissioner of Accounts John Franck dissenting.

Franck said he was concerned that the proposals the city had considered were based on a $14 million budget for the building, when only $8 million is allocated in the recently passed, but highly contested 2008 budget.

"We have taxed people for a building that we may not build," Franck said. The city last year bonded $1.1 million for design and management, and has been paying taxes on that amount.

Kim pointed out that LaBella was the lowest bidder, having quoted an $860,000 price for design and construction-related work. He also listed for the council a number of similar projects that LaBella has undertaken, including a public safety facility in Warren County.

Kim said LaBella is willing to modify the project in stages if contracts are approved.

"If there's an $8 million budget, they are still interested," he said.

Public comment on the resolution to accept LaBella's bid came from both sides of the issue.

Former Commissioner of Accounts Remigia Foy said any action on the facility by the outgoing "lame-duck" City Council would be irresponsible, and suggested the incoming council have the opportunity to review the proposals before approval, since they will have to approve expenditures on the project.

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