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Town of Henrietta could have saved $900K on new library

April 23, 2019 07:00 PM

HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WHEC) -- A major project being paid for by Henrietta taxpayers is not exactly going according to plan.  

A new $12.5 million library is being built on Calkins Road and while it's not over budget yet, the supervisor says the town was forced to spend $900,000 that it could have saved had it been able to move quicker following the public referendum on the project.  

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The town put the project to vote before it actually secured the land it planned to build the library on which means, when taxpayers overwhelmingly approved the referendum, it was behind in putting the project out to bid. That delay likely cost Henrietta taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The owners of the land promised to donate it to the Town of Henrietta, but it turns out there was still a mortgage on it and the title was not free and clear.

Supervisor Steve Schultz says the town didn't want to commit to construction until they were sure the matter could be settled.

"We basically kept pestering them to get it done, lawyers got involved. It actually put about a three-month delay or more in the start of construction. They were supposed to go to bid in December, that three month delay according to Christa, who is overseeing the construction, that added about $900,000 to those bids because in December companies don't have a whole lot of work lined up, they're hungry to bid... by March, their plates are largely full," he tells News10NBC.  

That and the price of steel and other supplies went up.  

"We're not over budget but we're not under budget either whereas we could have been close to a million dollars, so that adds roughly 10 percent, we could have dropped the price of the bond or the amount of the bond which would have reduced the debt service which would have reduced the amount we had to raise in taxes to pay for the bond," Schultz explains.

Former Henrietta Town Supervisor Jack Moore tells News10NBC that he knew the land still had a mortgage on it but insists if the town had put money in escrow to cover the note during the transition, the project could have started on time.

Moore says the land was a donation, free of charge to the town and Schultz shouldn't complain about a short delay.  

When asked whether any corners will need to be cut to make up for the $900,000, Schutlz says nothing structurally but the landscaping will have to be scaled back for the time being and they'll likely hold off on connecting sidewalks from the recreation center.  

Credits

Jennifer Lewke

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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