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LOCKPORT – The Common Council awarded a contract Wednesday for construction of a railroad platform on the edge of downtown Lockport, and construction work may begin as soon as today, according to R. Charles Bell, director of planning and development.

HP Construction Co. of Lockport was hired for $24,980 to build the platform on city property at 5 Gooding St., a job Bell said the city wanted done in about two weeks.

The 10-by-12-foot platform is to be used to load and unload passengers for the Medina Railroad Museum’s excursion trains between Lockport and Medina.

Bell said, “It’s a big deck. One of the biggest costs is the ramp to make that accessible [to the handicapped],” he said.

The three other contractors Bell contacted for quotes told him the project was “a $40,000 job.” The only other formal bid was $38,000 from Patterson Construction.

But Bell said the Glynn Group, a Lockport architectural firm, provided “a little bit of value engineering” to cut the price. The platform will be made of composite materials topped by pressure-treated lumber.

In other matters Wednesday, the Council went behind closed doors to discuss several options for changing the rules for its tax foreclosure auction, in the wake of a legal defeat.

Last month, State Supreme Court Justice Frank Caruso ruled that the city was wrong to make Daryl Ubiles of Lockport forfeit his deposits when he was denied title to two properties he won in last year’s auction.

City Treasurer Michael E. White refused to sell to Ubiles after it was learned that he had not paid a $399 school tax bill on one of his other properties in the city.

Ubiles said he never received the bill and paid the taxes as soon as he was told of them, but White, following the written auction policy, kept $6,150 Ubiles had put down on the two properties while selling them to the second-highest bidder. Caruso said Ubiles was due a refund of his deposits, but it was too late to give him the properties.

Although Council President Anne E. McCaffrey said it’s too late to change the rules for this year’s auction on Oct. 8. Deputy Corporation Counsel Michael E. Benedict offered three choices for future reform, upon which the aldermen did not make a decision.

One option was to pre-qualify all bidders, which Benedict said would be “a little difficult.” Another was to give winners until the closing date to solve any problems that crop up; and the third was to sell the property to the second bidder, but only keep the difference between the bids while refunding the rest of the deposit to the top bidder.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com