The Batavia Police Department has closed out the Movember campaign for 2023. The department raised $1,700 for Genesee Cancer Assistance with 19 members participating. Pictured are a few members who participated in the campaign with leadership from Genesee Cancer Assistance.
Genesee Cancer Assistance, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, co-founded in 1995 by Mrs. Dorothy Schlaggel & Mr. Russ Romano. Their shared desire was to create an organization through which cancer patients living in Genesee County could have access to financial aid and a variety of support services. Since its founding, Genesee Cancer Assistance has been able to assist thousands of individuals; helping hundreds of patients each year.
The Movember Worldwide Campaign started in 2003 in Australia and has since grown. Movember was created to bring awareness to Men’s Health; specifically, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention.
Two special meetings, a few pointed questions about contractor obligations, and nine votes solidified a move that City Council members, management and members of the police department celebrated Thursday at City Hall.
Council unanimously approved contracts worth $11,185,898 for the construction portion of the new police station to go up on the corner of Bank Street and Alva Place in downtown Batavia.
“I’ve just gotta say this, going out after 12 years. This has now become probably one of the major accomplishments of my career in government,” Councilman John Canale said during the specially scheduled business meeting. “And I am just so very, very happy to finally see this happen.Unless you go through that building, you have no idea what our police department has worked under, the types of conditions that they have worked under.”
Canale opted not to run for reelection to his Third Ward seat during this year's general election, and this was likely his last official piece of business for his term. He was one of nine yes votes for the following bids:
Building Innovation Group was chosen as the lowest of seven bidders for the general contracting portion of the police facility with a bid of $5,468,698.
Kaplan Schmidt Electric, Inc. was lowest of five bidders for electrical work with a bid of $1,365,500.
HVAC mechanical contracting went to Crosby-Brownlie, Inc. out of four bidders, with a bid of $1,897,200.
MKS Plumbing Corp. was the low bidder out of three proposals for plumbing and fire contracting, with a bid of $895,000.
Seven bidders pitched for site contracting, and Ingalls Development was the low bidder with $1,559,500.
Council members Paul Viele and Bob Bialkowski asked questions about the contract, including if it was “written in stone,” and whether the city would be hearing months from now that a mistake was made and a vendor needed more money.
“We do have contingency in the overall project budget,” City Manager Rachael Tabelski said. “But these are the contracts that we will be executing for the work that was in the bids.”
Viele also wanted to know about timeline: Is there one and is the contractor made to abide by it?
There is an 18-month time period for the project completion, Tabelski said.
Bialkowski also wanted some assurances about the contractor — what happens in the event a main or sub contractor stops working or files for bankruptcy?
“I don’t want to see a building half completed,” Bialkowski said.
There are provisions in the standard contract for such situations, City Attorney George Van Nest said, though “we’re not sitting here expecting that to happen.”
“Not that it’s never happened, obviously,” he said.
The public works and architectural team has checked references and feels comfortable with the lowest bidders chosen, Van Nest said, and there are bond claimsin case a contractor becomes insolvent, he said. Should a contractor cease working on the job, it goes to another contractor, he said.
“I understand Mr. Bialkowski’s concerns,” Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said, referencing the situation at Ellicott Station, where the contractor walked off the job after closing his company.
The total police facility project is estimated to be $15.5 million, paid for with a $13 million loan at 3.75 percent interest from the USDA and a $2.5 million grant, Tabelski said.
“We would love to deliver on budget or under budget,” she said, later adding that “we’re really excited to see these bids awarded today.”
After the vote, which also included members Kathy Briggs, Al McGinnis, David Twichell, Rich Richmond and Tammy Schmidt, the audience with police department staff representation applauded.
Jankowski, a retired lieutenant, once worked at the current station on Main Street also known as Brisbane Mansion. He said that “it’s been a long road” to get to this point.
“I want to thank you for sticking through this project, it’s been 10 years, probably more,” he said. “Thank you for doing the right thing.”
Bialkowski shared some history that there was a former police station on School Street, and recalled how “you walked up the stairs, and right at the top of the hallway was the desk sergeant."
The City of Batavia Police Department is urging drivers to buckle up during the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement effort. The national seat belt campaign, which coincides with the Memorial Day holiday, runs from May 22 to June 4.
“We want seat belt use to be an automatic habit for drivers and passengers alike,” said Assistant Police Chief Chris Camp. “It’s not just a safe thing to do - it’s the law. During the Click It or Ticket campaign, we’ll be working with our fellow law enforcement officers across local and state lines to ensure the message gets out to drivers and passengers. Buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to limit injury or save your life during a crash. We see the results of not wearing a seat belt all the time. So often, it could have been prevented.”
According to NHTSA, in 2021, there were 11,813 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. In that same year, 57% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.– 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts. That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.
“No matter the type of vehicle you’re driving in or the type of road you’re driving on, the simplest way to stay safe in case of a vehicle crash is to wear your seat belt,” said Assistant Police Chief Chris Camp. “Unfortunately, many families are suffering because their loved ones refused to follow this simple step. NHTSA data shows that seat belt use is higher among females than males. In fact, nearly twice as many males were killed in crashes as compared to females in 2021. Of the males killed in crashes during that same year, more than half (54%) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 42% were not buckled up.
“If the enforcement effort alerts people to the dangers of unrestrained driving, we’ll consider our mission to be a success,” said Assistant Police Chief Chris Camp. “If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits. Help us spread this lifesaving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of not buckling up. Seat belts save lives, and everyone - front seat and back, child and adult - needs to remember to buckle up.”
Is there a “secret plan to roundup civilians” with the City of Batavia’s recently-acquired Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) military-style armored vehicle?
“No," Batavia City Police Chief Shawn Heubusch emphatically replied in response to a question Monday night from City Council President Eugene Jankowski.
Heubusch reported to Council on the police department’s Oct. 11 receipt of the MRAP, stating that it will be used exclusively as a rescue vehicle.
“It is not an assault vehicle – no firearms are attached to it – and the department is not patrolling with it,” said Heubusch, adding that the vehicle is in “exceptional condition.”
The chief said it cost only $1,600 to get it to Batavia from Maryland – with the price tag much less than the budgeted amount of $7,000.
He said $900 was spent to replace a couple batteries and that a Buffalo business will be donating a lighting package. He also said that the plan is to paint the vehicle to remove the “military look” and with lettering indicating that it is for rescue operations.
All costs to get the truck ready will be split 50-50 with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department, Heubusch said.
“This vehicle cost $854,000 new; that’s what the federal government paid,” he said. “For a comparable (model), you’d spend $200,000 to $300,000. We got it at a fraction of the cost (transportation to Batavia and other maintenance/painting charges).”
Heubusch said the Department of Defense owns it – “we’re renting it,” he said – but it’s not costing taxpayers because the money came from asset forfeitures and court-ordered drug seizures.