Shawn M. Morse
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City of Cohoes
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Cohoes, NY 12047

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COMMON COUNCIL PROCEEDINGS
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 7:00 P.M.
Special Meeting
Common Council Chambers
 
Mayor Morse led in the Pledge of Allegiance at 7:00 PM
 
At 7:00 PM the Common Council Workshop was conducted.
 
At 7:35 PM the Common Council Special Meeting was conducted.
 
Roll call was taken
 
PRESENT:      Mayor Morse                                      EXCUSED:     NONE
Council President Briggs                                          
Council Member Smith
Council Member Russell
Council Member McCarthy
Council Member Napier
Council Member Koniowka
 
At 7:35 PM a Public Hearing was conducted for the transfer of four parcels of land to the Cohoes Local Development.
 
The Notice of Public Hearing was read into the record:
 
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
 
            PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a public hearing will be held by the Common Council of the City of Cohoes on April 12, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the common Council Chambers, Second Floor, City Hall, Cohoes, New York, to consider a Resolution determining that four parcels of real property are not required for use by the City and approving the transfer of title to such parcels of real property to the Cohoes Local Development Corporation.  The four parcels of real property are Tax Map No. 10.59-3-2.10 (parking lot adjacent to Sargent Street), Tax Map No. 10.59-3-56.1 (parking lot at corner of Main Street and White Street) Tax Map No. 10.59-3-58 (known as 31 Main Street), and Tax Map No. 10.67-2-7 (known as 12 White Street).
 
            PLEASE TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that, at that same time, the Common Council of the City of Cohoes will also consider a resolution determining the transfer of properties to be a SEQRA Type II action.
 
With no public comment being made, Council Member Russell made a motion to close the public hearing.  Seconded by Council Member McCarthy.  All members voted “AYE”.
 
Council President Briggs, and Council Members Smith, Russell, McCarthy, Napier, and Koniowka introduced Resolution No. 31 for 2016
 
A RESOLUTION DESIGNATING THE TRANSFER OF FOUR (4) PARCELS OF REAL PROPERTY FROM THE CITY OF COHOES TO THE COHOES LOCAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION AS A TYPE II ACTION
 
A roll call vote was taken, Council President Briggs, and Council Members Smith, Russell, McCarthy, Napier, Koniowka voted “AYE”.  Resolution No. 31 for 2016 passed. 
 
Council President Briggs, and Council Members Smith, Russell, McCarthy, Napier, and Koniowka introduced Resolution No. 32 for 2016
 
A RESOLUTION APPROVING THE TRANSFER OF FOUR OF CITY-OWNED PARCELS TO THE COHOES LOCAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
 
A roll call vote was taken, Council President Briggs, and Council Members Smith, Russell, McCarthy, Napier, Koniowka voted “AYE”.  Resolution No. 32 for 2016 passed. 
 
Council President Briggs, and Council Members Smith, Russell, McCarthy, Napier, and Koniowka introduced Resolution No. 33 for 2016
 
A RESOLUTION APPROVING AN EXCESS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE CONTRACT
 
A roll call vote was taken, Council President Briggs, and Council Members Smith, Russell, McCarthy, Napier, Koniowka voted “AYE”.  Resolution No. 33 for 2016 passed.
 
Council President Briggs, and Council Members Smith, Russell, McCarthy, Napier, and Koniowka introduced Resolution No. 34 for 2016
 
A RESOLUTION APPROVING A CONTRACT FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES ASSOCIATED WITH THE CLEAN UP AND DISPOSAL OF HAZARDOUS MATERIAL FROM 109 AND 111 SARATOGA STREETS
 
Council Member Napier, “I understand this is work already completed, and by a small business located in Cohoes?  I think we are all in agreement that a different approach needs to be taken.  My concern is, I want be make sure that we are legal.  My question is, given that we are under the umbrella of an emergency, is there any statute that would preclude us from being able to declare an emergency being the amount of time that has passed?”
 
Brian Kremer, Corporation Counsel, “First of all, you have to understand that under our procurement policy; an emergency can be made by the Mayor or the Department Head.  Whether we go out to bid or not, there is no statute.  We are here to approve the contract so the company can get paid.”
 
Council Member Napier, “With all due respect, we are here to determine whether or not to approve this contract.  What if the contract was created under the pretense that violates state law?  Is it your legal opinion that we are on solid footing in saying that this was an emergency?”
 
Brian Kremer, “The determination was made that it required immediate action.  I wasn’t there; you weren’t there as far as I know.  I can’t tell you whether there was or was not an emergency.  I can tell you that the person given the authority to make that determination under the procurement policy, is the Mayor and Department Heads, once that decision is made, everything flows from there.”
 
Council Member Napier, “So you believe that we are on solid legal footing?”
 
Brian Kremer, “I am not sure what you are trying to do.”
 
Mayor Morse, “Let me say this, I made the decision as the Public Safety Officer for the City of Cohoes, that it was an emergency.”
 
Brian Kremer, “We have given you the basis for this determination.  If the determination is made in good faith, under our policy, he is the one who has to make it, not the Council, then based upon this, he is authorized, under the procurement policy, to make the phone call and get the people in.  As long as he is making it in the best interest of the City I don’t see a problem.”
 
Mayor Morse, “I guess I would compare it to when GE started to dredge after they pumped the stuff into the rivers, 50 years later somebody said, this is an emergency.  This is bad stuff, this needs to be dredged.  Here’s what I know, there was a pile of asbestos in your community, blowing around the streets for 2 years, people going in and out of stores, restaurants, living across the street, kids going in and out of Dunkin Donuts, somebody had to make a decision to not leave a pile of asbestos blowing around.  I made the decision it was an emergency, and it was in the best interest of the city. 
 
Council Member Napier, “I just want to make sure it was completed legally.”
 
Mayor Morse, “The procurement policy clearly states if it is an emergency, the Mayor or the Department Head, once they render the decision, do not have to go out to bid.  I on the other hand was not happy about that, I don’t like to do that.  I called two vendors, just to make sure we had something to compare.  I think I went above and beyond what is in the procurement policy.  I spoke to Mr. McCarthy, he has been involved in Public Works for years, I did not know we had a thing called a sidewalk bid until this last fire.  I don’t know if that is different than me calling two companies.  The reality is, I made a decision, and I am comfortable with that decision.  I would hope that you would believe that the decision I made was in the best interest of the City.  I reached out to many people who have better knowledge of procurement policies than I do.  I did not want anyone come back and say, we let a pile of asbestos lay in the city for over two years.  In the future because Mr. McCarthy said, “I would like to see sidewalk bids done”, if that makes you feel more comfortable, then we will get three bids.  I am not opposed to that.  ”
 
Brian Kremer, “We can’t go back in time and second guess every emergency situation.  We go through the process, and you need to put your trust in the people who make these decisions.  If you don’t like that, you are able to change the procurement policy.”
 
Council Member Napier, “Given where we are now, what is our liability to the people who have lived or done business in the vicinity in the past?  Now that we stated it is an emergency.”
 
Brian Kremer, “Not anymore than it was in the past.  You are not opening yourself up for more exposure by removing the pile.”
 
Mayor Morse, “As the Mayor, I received a ton of calls.  It was the right and responsible thing to do. 
 
Council Member Napier, “I don’t disagree, but now that we as a City, are officially saying this was an emergency, and approving a contract on this basis, given that, does that give us a legal standing?”
 
Brian Kremer, “An analogy would be, “Someone is climbing your stairs, they fall, later you decide to put runners on your stairs, the theory is the fact that you remedied the situation, does not make you any more liable than before.”
 
George Primeau, Western Ave., “I worked for 2 years on getting this removed.  Was unable to locate the property owners.  This was the right thing to do.”
 
Council Member McCarthy, “I am extremely happy to see this cleaned up, I do believe this was the right thing to do, but the work manifest is incomplete and not filled in properly.  They should be filled out where they dumped.”
 
Mayor Morse, “That was approved by the State before being sent to us.  The prices are pretty close to the prices we got for the three houses on Main St.  It is easier to give quotes when the building is standing.  When it is a pile of ruble, we have no way of knowing what is in there and how deep it goes.  They ended up taking out 19 truckloads.”
 
Council Member Koniowka, “You said the 2 projects were similar, but Main St. required demolition.”
 
Mayor Morse, “We paid twice for Main St.  We had to pay for demolition and remediation costs.”
 
Council Member Koniowka, “Does anyone think the City of Cohoes, the taxpayers, got a bad deal?  I’m hearing a lot of people saying that.”
 
Mayor Morse, “Define to me what a bad deal.  Let me tell you what the bids were on Main Street.  $65,000 plus, $109,000, and $130,000.  Usually the guy who wins, almost never charges for the demolition, they only charge to take away the pile.  If three piles were $65K down there, and we paid $65K here, that has got to be a pretty good comparison to judge how much it is.  Here is my position, isn’t it in the best interest that we remove the piles?  We removed the pile, took ownership of the land.  We will now have Economic Development on one of the best strips of land on Saratoga Street.  We made the best decision for the City of Cohoes.  The procurement policy put it in my hands, I made the decision, and think I made this decision in the best interest of the City and the residents.  When we look at the whole picture, the taxpayers will be making out pretty good.  At the end of the day, yes I think this was a good deal.”
 
Michael Jacobson, Director Community Development, “I want to zero in on one thing, Randy you think we paid more than we should have.  I would like to address that based on my experience.  The labor costs were better than the average labor costs of the 47 demolitions and remediation I have presided over.  These were pretty good labor numbers.  The permit numbers are fixed and the daily air monitoring is pretty much fixed at $500 from one place to another.  The variable is how many loads you are predicting are going to come out of that hole.  When you have no idea how deep it is, or what is in it, you use your best guess. Is it typical wood or brick?  You just don’t know.  What we did find out was the hole was 13 feet deep in the back.  No matter how many trucks went to the dump, they charged per 100 cubic yards of waste.  If it was 20 trucks or 6 trucks, this is how it is cost out.  It is unlikely we would have paid any less because the variable portion of that was as good as it gets.  The fixed portion which is 100 cubic yards equals $3,750.00, if I remember correctly, is what we didn’t know.  I don’t think you would have gotten a better deal.”
 
Council Member Koniowka, “If we did a sidewalk bid or a competitive bid situation, would that have produced a better deal?”
 
Michael Jacobson, “There is no way of me knowing that, but I have been doing sidewalk bids for the longest time, we did all the demolition on the sidewalk, this particular one was about as good as any I have seen in Albany.”
 
Council President Christopher Briggs, “I think the point that was brought up before was, about sidewalk bids, this is from what I heard, that the structure is there, you know how deep the foundation is, you have a much better estimate of what your waste material is you are taking away.  So you will get a better bid.  This particular case, from my understanding, nobody was willing to give us a fixed cost.  It was a best faith effort to believe this contract was going to be under $50,000.00.  That’s why it was run through the Board of Managers.  Because of the slope and the material and debris, nobody knew the foundation was 13’.  When it is standing, you have a much better idea.  Everybody is trying to operate in the best interest of the City.  No one is trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.  Everybody made their best effort.”
 
Council Member Koniowka, “Saying this was the best way for this to happen?”
 
Council President Briggs, “Saying this was one of the only ways.  Deemed to be an emergency.  Should be taken care of in a short period of time.”
 
Mayor Morse, “There is a difference between saying, is it a better way, because the procurement policy sets out the way.  The issue is do I think there is a better way.  The issue is I have heard from the Council who would like to see it done with a three bid system even thought it does not require it.  As the Mayor of the City, I am saying, if that is what you want, I will do that.  There is no other reason, than me wanting to get the job done in the best cost of the taxpayer.  If this Council, or some of its members, feel more comfortable having a three bid on everything, no problem.  I follow the policy.  I don’t know if one way is better than the other.  My job is to make you guys feel more comfortable, so we can do it in the three bid system.  I am here to make sure everyone is comfortable with the process.  But if one of them come back at $85,000.00 that could have been done at $60,000.00, if I got someone else, I don’t want you to come back and say we should have gotten someone else.  I can’t guess if a sidewalk bid will get a better bid.”
 
A roll call vote was taken, Council President Briggs, and Council Members Smith, Russell, Napier, voted “AYE”.  Council Members McCarthy and Koniowka voted “NAY”.  Resolution No. 34 for 2016 passed.
 
 
At 8:15 PM, Council Member Russell made a MOTION to adjourn.  Seconded by Council Member Napier.  All members voted “AYE”.
 
 
 
 
                                                                                    ______________________________
                                                                                        Lori A. Yando, City Clerk





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