Jownstown Town Hall solar work started

Johnstown Town Hall upgrading

JOHNSTOWN — The solar panel project that is part of the upgrades being made to town hall are officially underway after the board awarded the bid to Kasselman Solar.

The contractor was awarded the bid at a cost of $48,890 with a credit of $8,640 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, bringing the cost to $40,250.

Kasselman Solar was one of two contractors to bid for the solar panel project. The second contractor was Albany Solar Solutions who bid at a cost of $45,312 with NYSERDA credit of $8,320 bringing the total to $36,992.

Although Albany Solar Solutions was the lowest bidder, Councilman Tim Rizzo said Kasselman Solar was awarded the contract because its bid was again in compliance with the specs. He said they were awarded the bid based on best value.

“We still had issues with Albany Solar Solutions bid because the bond was not filled out,” Rizzo said. “Kasselman was compliant with the bid.”

This was the second time the board had bid for the solar panels because during the first round, the board awarded Kasselman Solar the bid, but Albany Solar Solutions “complained” to the board that they were the lowest bidder and legally they should have been awarded the bid.

The town passed a local law on April 15, a best value law for competitive bidding for purchase contracts and public works contracts. Establishing the law allows the town to award bids based on best value.

Work to install the solar panels on the roof of the town hall began on Thursday.

Rizzo said work has been going smoothly with the contractors, but there continues to be issues and disagreements between councilmembers. He said a new issue arose with security cameras that were suppose to be installed in the building.

“We’re not putting in the cameras,” Rizzo said.

He said their contractor for Information Technology, TAG Solutions was suppose to put in the security cameras, the board went and got a quote from a local IT contractor after TAG engineered it and designed it, and it wasn’t discussed with Rizzo or the project engineer.

“I’m shocked,” Rizzo said. “That’s shady business.”

He questioned why the board would go get local quotes when they already had a qualified contractor to install the cameras. He said the change order was not signed and the cameras are in “limbo.”

Rizzo said that doesn’t build a proper relationship between the IT contractor and the town. He said they will continue to work with TAG Solutions on IT for other upgrades to the town hall.