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Drip, drip

The leaks at the Moreau highway garage are so pervasive that mechanic Dustin Underwood hung an umbrella in 2017 to protect his tools from rusting.

MOREAU — After weeks of careful evaluation, the Town Board has hired the low bidder to replace the new highway garage roof that was built incorrectly by the last low bidder.

The town will pay Arrow Sheet Metal Works of Buffalo $434,500 to entirely replace the 8-year-old roof.

The town paid $1.4 million for the highway garage in 2011. But the contractor, TMG Construction, made mistakes and the roof sprang multiple leaks immediately.

Town Attorney Karla Buettner communicated informally with TMG Construction and its bonding company, but the town didn’t file an official notice of claim within a year, so its lawsuit against the bonding company was thrown out.

Town officials have done everything they could think of to avoid buying a new roof. They threatened to sue everyone involved with the construction. They sought state grants. But for years, the roof just continued to drip.

The water blew out ceiling lights and rusted machinery. One worker hung a beach umbrella over his new tools so that they wouldn’t get rusty.

Now a $200,000 state grant is nearing approval. The town will pay the rest of the cost.

Bids came in much lower than expected. Town engineers had estimated the new roof at $525,000 to $575,000. There were four bidders, and all but one were well above that estimate.

Arrow Sheet Metal Works was $200,000 lower than the nearest bid, which made board members nervous. For two weeks, town engineers looked into the bid.

“The Town Board asked the engineer to conduct due diligence,” Supervisor Todd Kusnierz said at Tuesday’s board meeting. “The engineer is recommending the low bidder.”

The board unanimously accepted the low bid.

“I’m ecstatic,” Kusnierz said after the meeting. “It’s lower than the estimate by a third.”

The board plans to hire someone to supervise the work. LaBerge Group has sent in a proposal, but the board hasn’t voted on it yet.

Work will be done in 2020, so there’s time to nail down supervision beforehand.

“We will have construction oversight on that job,” Kusnierz said.

The lack of supervision at the highway garage and Town Hall construction sites has been blamed for the many construction problems that arose. Other problems included two floods at Town Hall — one when the attic-level fire suppression system broke and one from interior spigots that were used on the exterior of the building, where they froze.

The various problems have cost the town hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“We are on our way to taking care of the last item we have been grappling with for many years,” Kusnierz said. “It’s our last big-ticket item.”

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You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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