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McMahon says Rec Commission has until end of month to deal with arena bids

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MASSENA - Massena Electric Department Superintendent Andrew J. McMahon said five bids have been submitted from three separate vendors for the potential Massena Arena lighting upgrade project, and a decision on whether to move forward with the project will have to be made by the end of the month.

Mr. McMahon provided additional information about the project to village board members Tuesday.

“Massena Electric set aside $500,000 four years ago to look at energy efficiency projects. ... We’ve spent in the last four years, $325,000 of the $500,000 we initially set aside and we’ve spent that money on a variety of projects. The street lighting as you drive down Maple Street - those are all new LED street lights. We’ve done tree projects with (Superintendent of Public Works Hassan A. Fayad) again on Maple Street and Amherst Road and a number of projects around the town,” Mr. McMahon said. “Unilaterally we looked at one of our largest lighting users that we’re aware of in Massena Arena. So unilaterally, we went to the arena looking at what can we do.

“So I started bringing vendors in there. ... My board approved spending over $1,000 to write an RFP (Request for Proposal) with an architectural engineer out of Malone. ... We weren’t going to decide what kind of lights that were going to be put in; we were just going to demand that it was more energy efficient and that the light quality at the end of the day remain the same or better.”

Mr. McMahon noted the Massena Arena lighting is currently well lit, but not very energy efficient.

He also said limited contractor interest for the project may be due in part to the performance requirement set in place.

“I think some of (the vendors) were concerned with the performance requirement we put in that if the lighting quality, when we go back a year after installation if the lighting quality isn’t what it is now they were going to have to make improvements so that the lighting quality is back to where it is now. I think that may have driven some people off,” Mr. McMahon said.

“The spread on the bids was pretty significant. The low bid was $51,000 and the high bid was $171,000. The incentive programs we run for residential, commercial and industrial (customers) we base the incentive on the five-year savings. Whatever they’re going to save in electricity in five years, we’ll match up front, up to $5,000 for residential and $10,000 for commercial.”

The MED superintendent pointed out that fluorescent lighting would be cheapest and that that type is used at athletic facilities in Clarkson University and SUNY Potsdam.

He also said that while a decision on bids needs to be made soon, this is still a long-term project.

“At this point, it should be noted that we’re not going to be able to do anything until May/June time frame when we get everybody out there and get the ice out so that people can get in there and do there work,” Mr. McMahon said.

The possibility of going out for a re-bid was also discussed.

“The Rec Commission has until the end of this month to make a decision whether to pull the trigger on one of these five bids. You can always re-bid though,” the superintendent said. “If you want to re-bid, I certainly understand your concern about the disparity in the bids.”

“So we won’t shoot ourselves in the foot by not going for it right now,” Mayor James F. Hidy said. “So, I guess the question is ‘Are we going to look at re-bidding this to see if it comes in a little bit better than what’s anticipated here. I don’t think right now we’re in a position to say, ‘Yeah, you know we’ll contribute 60 percent of it.’”

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