SARANAC LAKE - The village Board of Trustees approved a lease agreement Monday with the second of two biotech companies that plan to relocate to the village from Lake Placid.
Active Motif will move into the village's Water Department building at 17 Main St. The terms of the five-year lease, which begins Jan. 1, 2013, require the company to pay the village $2,400 per month for the 2,400 square feet of office space it plans to use in the two-story building. It also gives the company the right to use a dozen parking spaces on site and next to the former village offices at 3 Main St.
Prior to the board's vote Monday night, Trustee Allie Pelletieri asked about a section of the lease that requires the village to assist Active Motif in obtaining economic development funding in the event the Essex County Industrial Development Agency recalls a loan it provided to the company, which will move from Essex to Franklin County.
"So we're attempting to get one through the Franklin County IDA or make the loan on our own," Pelletieri said. "My question is, if Essex County recalls it, Franklin County can't come through, and for some reason we can't come through with a loan, what would happen then?"
Treasurer Paul Ellis said the village has the resources to provide the company with an economic development loan.
"It kind of solves two problems at the same time," Ellis said. "We've been unable to secure other funding from New York state because we haven't used these funds up. This would allow us to get it off the books and allow for future funding from the state for economic development."
Active Motif is the second biotech company to sign a lease with the village in the past three months. Myriad RBM plans to relocate from Lake Placid to the former village offices at 3 Main St., which are now vacant following the village's move to the Harrietstown Town Hall last month.
Before the two companies move in, the village plans to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to renovate both its former offices and the water department building. Village officials have said the buildings need the upgrades, regardless of who uses them.
Contracts for window replacement at the village offices were awarded in the fall. At its meeting Monday night, the board awarded a $268,500 contract for upgrades to the building's heating, ventilation and cooling systems to J. Hogan Refrigeration and Mechanical. Myriad RBM is planning to move in once the renovations are complete.
In a separate vote, trustees approved the hiring of Bernier, Carr and Associates to design, bid and administer planned upgrades to the Water Department building, at a cost not to exceed $25,500.
Ellis said he believes the renovations will be done by late October, to give Active Motif time to move in prior to the start of its lease on Jan. 1.
Clerk of the works
Trustees also voted Monday to hire Jeff Dora of Malone to serve as a clerk of the works to oversee the building upgrades. He'll be paid $19 an hour, plus mileage, at a cost not to exceed $9,500. Ellis said the village could have used engineering companies for that work, but they were too expensive.
Trustee Jeff Branch asked why the village wouldn't hire someone who lives in the village for the position. He also said he was concerned about the mileage costs Dora would incur traveling from Malone.
Ellis said the village wouldn't use Dora full-time, probably about eight hours a week. He also noted that Dora has been doing work in the village for Barton and Loguidice, the engineering firm coordinating the village's ongoing water project, and said there have been conversations about sharing those travel costs with the company.
Pelletieri asked why the village couldn't have an in-house clerk of the works, suggesting village Code Enforcement Officer Tom Worthington could do it.
Ellis said he didn't think Worthington is qualified to handle some aspects of the job, and that work would take him away from other things he's supposed to be working on for the village.
After the discussion ended, trustees voted 3-0 to hire Dora. Trustee Tom Catillaz was absent from Monday's meeting and Mayor Clyde Rabideau generally only votes to break a tie.