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Village hires engineers to survey flood damage

June 14, 2011
By CHRIS KNIGHT - Senior Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - The village has hired the engineering firms Barton & Loguidice and AES Northeast to conduct an assessment of damage to village infrastructure caused by the spring floods.

The village Board of Trustees agreed Monday to award a contract to the two companies, which had submitted a joint bid of $44,300. Two other firms had sought the work, GHD Consulting Engineers of Cazenovia, which bid $44,600, and Watertown-based Bernier, Carr and Associates, which bid $26,960.

Although the Bernier, Carr bid was the cheapest by far, village Department of Public Works Superintendent Robert Martin said the company "left some items off the table" that were included in the other two firms' bids. Martin and village Manager John Sweeney noted that Barton & Loguidice and AES Northeast are already familiar with the village's infrastructure.

"They've done a lot of work with us," Sweeney said.

The spring floods, which were triggered by a combination of heavy rain and snowmelt, caused roughly $6 million in damage to village infrastructure. A scope-of-service report submitted by Barton & Loguidice and AES Northeast says the companies will assess flood damage in the following areas: the wastewater treatment plant's clarifiers, the sewer mains beneath Dorsey and Woodruff streets, the River Walk, the Hydro Point Park retaining wall, the village offices, the water department building, the Lake Flower dam floodgates, and the sewer and storm sewer lines on Duprey Street and Pelkey Lane. The engineers will also assess erosion along the Saranac River banks, shoreline erosion along Lake Flower and erosion of the Riverside Park headwall.

President Barack Obama issued a federal disaster declaration on Friday for 21 counties in New York, including Essex and Franklin. The move means the village is eligible to apply for federal disaster aid to help repair the damage.

Trustee John McEneany asked if the village would be reimbursed for the cost of the engineering work by those funds.

"Engineering costs can be recoverable, and I stress, 'can be' recoverable," Sweeney said.

The federal government would pay 87 cents on the dollar in repair costs, with the village picking up the rest of the cost, Sweeney said.

If the federal funding doesn't come through, Treasurer Paul Ellis noted that the village could pay for the assessment using contingency money from its water, sewer and general funds. He also said the village has a $1 million flood insurance policy that it hopes to tap into.



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