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Harrietstown hires engineers for spring flood repairs

September 9, 2011
By CHRIS KNIGHT - Senior Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - The town of Harrietstown agreed Thursday to hire North Woods Engineering to prepare plans for repairing town infrastructure damaged in this spring's flooding.

The Saranac Lake firm will be paid $6,900 for engineering services on a new culvert on Coreys Road. The sidewalls of the existing concrete culvert, which is at least 50 years old, were damaged when the Raquette River reached record-high levels in late April and early May. Town officials have said the new culvert could cost $80,000.

North Woods will be paid $21,700 to draw up plans to replace a large concrete and stone retaining wall behind the Harrietstown Town Hall that was undermined by flooding of the Saranac River. Joe Garso of North Woods said the project could cost up to $300,000.

The town will also give the company $17,200 to handle the engineering work for upgrades to portions of the town hall that were damaged in the flooding, including the building's boiler room and records room. The total cost of the project isn't known yet.

Town Supervisor Larry Miller said Franklin County offered to let the town use the county's engineering firm, which the town would have had to pay, but Miller was worried that the company might not be able to meet a late September deadline set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide cost estimates and engineered repair plans.

"I think it would be in our best interest to have our own engineers," Miller said.

Councilman Ron Keough asked how the town plans to pay for the repairs and the engineering costs.

"We're probably going to bond for it," Miller said. "I don't know any other way."

Town officials have previously said any funding they get from FEMA could be used to reimburse their costs. Essex, Franklin and 19 other counties in New York were declared a federal disaster area after the widespread spring flooding. The declaration makes federal money available to help pay for infrastructure repair or replacement.

A FEMA representative is scheduled to meet with town officials Monday to inspect the infrastructure damage.



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