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LOCKPORT – After a decade of preparation, bids are in for a new evidence and vehicle storage building for the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.

A County Legislature committee approved contracts for the project Monday, totaling $921,322. The bids must clear two other committees and the full Legislature, which Chief Deputy Thomas C. Beatty said is expected to occur by April 8.

Beatty said ground is expected to be broken in May for the 50-by-154-foot, one-story building. “We expect to be in there by fall,” he said.

“This has been going on for about 10 years,” said Legislator John Syracuse, R-Newfane, the Public Works Committee chairman. “The Sheriff’s Department has whittled it down from what it was.” Beatty said the original cost estimate for the building was $1.2 million. The Legislature allocated $750,000 to it from a bond issue last year.

“To keep going backwards seemed counterproductive, to have something that wouldn’t meet our needs,” Beatty said. So the Sheriff’s Office included some extra money in this year’s budget to help pay for the project. The Legislature is being asked to appropriate $145,000 from the sheriff’s budget and $175,000 from the county’s fund balance to cover any possible overruns.

Also, the $125,000 cost of paying EI Team of Amherst to design the building is counted against the bond issue, Beatty said.

The building will house property being used as evidence by the Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices, as well as vehicles such as the Sheriff’s command post, prisoner transfer buses, the emergency response team vehicle, and winter storage for boats.

The current evidence building at the Mount View campus on Upper Mountain Road, a bunker cut into the side of a knoll, is deemed unsatisfactory.

Syracuse said, “I remember the photos of the evidence storage facility with files and water and confiscated crime scene material. Not a pretty picture.”

R.B. Mac Construction Co. of Lockport is the lowest of eight bidders for general construction, at $663,000. CIR Electrical Construction Corp. of Buffalo outbid five other firms for the electrical work at $118,880.

Parise Mechanical of the Town of Tonawanda is the low mechanical bidder at $59,300, competing with two other companies. And Mulvey Construction of Lockport won the plumbing bid at $80,142, defeating one other competitor.

In another matter, the committee approved the Sewer District’s reappointments of P. Andrew Vona of Lockport as its attorney for $30,000 a year, plus $125 an hour for litigation.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com