Council approves repairs to eliminate white streaks on City Hall
A solution may have been found for the white streaks on the red bricks of City Hall.
On Monday, City Council approved a $31,500 contract with Highland Masonry and Restoration Inc., of Buffalo, to replace 46 windows and sills with material that won't run and create new streaks.
Once the building's cleaned up and the new windows are in place, the building should be more attractive, officials say.
"It does bother the citizens of Batavia," said City Council President Marrianne Clattenburg. "I get comments on it all the time – when are you going to fix those windows?"
Director of Public Works Sally Kuzon said the city tried two different replacement or repair options on three different windows on the building. The replacement process showed the most success on two windows, so the city then sought bids for the work on the remaining 46 windows.
Councilman Sam Barone was the only council member to object to the work, saying he was concerned about the expense and that he could live with the situation.
The city did budget $27,000 for the project. The $4,500 shortfall will be taken from the city's facilities reserve.
Councilwoman Patti Pacino was among the council members who questioned why the city couldn't sue the contractor who installed the windows, or the architect who wrote the specs.
"I still don't understand how it's not some body's fault," Pacino said.
City Attorney George Van Nest explained that the building contractor was merely going off the plans and specs provided by the architect when the building was erected five years ago, so couldn't be held libel.
As for going after the architect, he said expert opinion, according to his research, varies on the proper construction process and materials for installing windows in a masonry building, making getting a win on a lawsuit much more difficult.
"Legal action could cost more than the project itself," said City Manager Jason Molino.
Both Molino and Van Nest explained that winter-time construction and the compounds used in installing the windows at that time of year may be the reason the streaks appeared. Van Nest said he's seen the same problem appear on buildings in Buffalo.
"In my opinion, this is a beautiful building and those stains under the windows really detract from it," said councilman Frank Ferrando. "I think we owe it to this community and the investment that we made here that we make it look good. This is our downtown. This is something we should all be very proud of."
Photos: Kuzon, Ferrando, Pacino.