The Telegram
  • $2.4 million architect contract for jail could see increase

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  • A $2.4 million contract with the current architect for the proposed Herkimer County jail could see an undetermined increase.
    The Herkimer County Legislature’s Ways and Means and Public Safety and Emergency Management committees Thursday approved an amendment to LaBella Associates’ contract that ensures the company will work with the county during the trial against the village of Herkimer.
    The state Supreme Court Appellate Division previously ruled the county and the village must return to state Supreme Court to provide more detailed documentation on whether the county’s interest in building a jail trumps the village of Herkimer’s interest. This is due to the village changing its zoning laws to prohibit construction of a jail.
    The amended contract will allow LaBella employees to testify during court as well as prepare documents, county Administrator James Wallace said.
    “There’s stuff that we don’t have that they would have to prepare for us,” he said. “That (information) would depend on what the attorney would ask for.”
    Wallace said they’re unsure how much the increase will be, but guesstimate it at about $10,000 to $15,000.
    County Legislator Helen Rose, D-Herkimer, questioned why there would be an increase to obtain documents LaBella should already have available.
    “Testifying is one thing, but we should already have the documents,” she said. “If we pay them to render service under the contract, should they already have the documents?”
    Chairman of the Legislature Vincent Bono, R-Schuyler, said the county needs LaBella’s support for the case.
    “Anything and everything to win the case,” he said.
    County Legislator Dennis Korce, R-Mohawk, was the only “no” vote in both committees.
    Last month, the county Legislature approved hiring outside legal counsel — The West Firm out of Albany — to pursue the lawsuit against the village.
    The cost of the firm depends on who is doing the counseling and could range from $100 to $350 per hour.
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