Skip to main content

Public Service

Genesee County faces future $725K mobile command purchase

By Joanne Beck
Tim Yaeger presents mobile buy
Genesee County Emergency Management Services Deputy Coordinator Gary Patnode, center, and Coordinator Tim Yaeger, right, talk about the need for a new mobile command vehicle in the next 12 to 18 months during Tuesday's Public Service meeting. 
Photo by Joanne Beck

It was a good run — squeezing out every ounce of use from a mobile command vehicle the last 20 years — and it’s now time to make another considerable purchase to upgrade Genesee County Emergency Management’s ability for on-the-go operations, Coordinator Tim Yaeger says.

He gave a presentation Tuesday to the Public Service Committee about the current vehicle’s status, purchased for $157,000 nearly two decades ago, along with how much for a new one, with more interior space to accommodate more than twice the people, communication equipment, three work stations, single telescoping with two mast-mounted cameras, internet, a bathroom, kitchen area with amenities, and on-board gas generator.

Ticket price? About $724,000.

“This thing has been added on and morphed over the last 10 years, and probably at most, we've updated some of the equipment in there. But its capacity to maintain and keep stuff where it needs to be, it just doesn't have the capacity. So it's just starting to age, mechanically, or visually, inside it just looks unkempt, but it still functions. But we struggle with it,” Yaeger said. “I’m leaning towards a year to a year and a half to take possession of another vehicle.”

While there initially seemed to be adequate space inside, there isn’t enough internal working space — fitting about four law enforcement people in the command area — for command staff and officials, he said, especially after COVID brought about a general sense of people not wanting “to be on top of each other” when working indoors.

By the time a new vehicle is purchased and delivered, this one would be at least 20 years old, having been used an average of 14 times a year for everything from a plane crash to events at Darien Lake. The propane tank needs to be replaced, and the front tires, brake lines, leveling system and generators are all a concern at this point, Yaeger said.

He recommended a manufacturer that makes the Snap-on Tool trucks, and a customized vehicle would have upgrades of two cameras for viewing from more than just the front as is the case now; seating for 10; a large command center area; an on-board bathroom, which isn’t always important for urban units but is for rural Genesee County, he said; and it can be retrofit for future needs and is a “50 percent improvement from what we’re using.”

Yaeger said he’s “guessing around a $50,000 value” for the current vehicle and that, after scouting for a new mobile unit the last few years, the package would include a $27,000 discount and delivery. He will be getting Homeland Security funds to replace radio equipment.

"I'm using all my security money. So the 800 megahertz radios are all going to be replaced with new ones, and we are going to have a couple of remote heads. So in the command area, there's a capability for you to be in the Command Area and hear what's going on, obviously, and talk, but most of the radio equipment's going to be in the back. That's all going to be new," he said. "We are going to reuse some of the UHF and VHF equipment because we can add that to the current vehicle, and it's not that old. But that's all that's allowable under Homeland Security, and I can afford it with the Homeland Security funding. We have to replace the equipment. But other than that, there's nothing to purchase.

“I fear the longer we wait, it’s not going to get less expensive,” he said. “Right now, it would be a capital project.”

He joked that on the plus side, County Manager Matt Landers spotted that it came with a Keurig coffee maker. Landers said that he had anticipated this expense in the 2024 budget with an assets allocation of $675,000. The remaining cost would come from a sales tax reserve.

“So anywhere between $20,000 and $50,000 is the additional amount that we're going to have to pull from a 1% sales tax reserve,” Landers said. “And we'll accomplish that through a budget resolution that we will bring forward to the public service (committee) next month, and then the full funds will be available in the budget, then Tim can go out and procure that vehicle. 

“Tim, 19 years ago, made the determination that this was something that was needed in the community. It is a significant cost, which is something that I'm mindful of. However, it does act in some ways, as I said, as an insurance policy,” Landers said. “You don't know how important it is until there's a crisis or something's happening, in which case you're going to need it. So we'll be glad to have it on hand in the event of that crisis. And it's just unfortunate that it costs so much money.”

Want some water fun in Batavia? Just rent it, county legislators say

By Joanne Beck kayak rental
Potentially coming soon to DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street in Batavia is a kayak rental kiosk, shown here in Havelock, NC, installed by Rent.Fun LLC, a company being considered by Genesee County. Photo from Rent.Fun website.

If you don’t think there’s fun to be had in Batavia, then look no further than the name of a company being considered for DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street.

Genesee County legislators that make up the Public Service Committee reviewed a move Monday to obtain Rent.Fun LLC to set up a self-service kayak rental kiosk at DeWitt. Kayaking was identified in the county’s comprehensive recreation plan as a “need to be made available to the community.”

Genesee County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens and the deputy superintendent recommended that the committee approve the proposal for the county to enter into an agreement with Rent.Fun, LLC, located in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“There would be four (kayaks) available to rent from spring to fall,” Hens said to The Batavian. “The financial model is that the county would pay itself back on the investment, but we are looking at this as an opportunity to provide a recreational service to the community that also generates residual income and requires no county maintenance.”

The agreement would be for a period of five years, at a total cost of $16,000 for the installation and activation of smart lockers, fully equipped with kayaks/lifejackets and locker signage. Kayak users would then pay a rental fee through use of the kiosk that would go back to the county.

This park amenity expense will come out of the Capital Project DeWitt Improvements Phase IV, with $6,000 of this cost offset by a donation from the Association for the Conservation of Recreational and Natural Spaces (ACORNS), for a total cost of $10,000 to the county.

A final vote will go before the county Legislature in the next couple of weeks.

“If approved, the kayaks will be in place by mid-June,” Hens said.

In 2020-21, the county’s Chamber of Commerce Batavia Rotary Club and Youth Bureau worked together to put a $6,000 grant toward a new kayak launch at DeWitt and purchase kayaks for the Youth Bureau.

A twisted arm, milestone, and rainy days all part of the job for new county jail

By Joanne Beck

Although contractors for the new Genesee County Jail have been abiding by OSHA requirements, the construction site had an incident with one worker this past month, Carl York says.

York presented a monthly update Monday to the county’s Public Services Committee. From the large — utility infrastructure and the building’s footprint — to more minute details of cell accessories, they were being completed one by one, he said. And occasionally, accidents happen.

“A contractor twisted his arm while drilling,” said York, senior project manager for The Pike Company. “There was no doctor visit, no lost time. So we’re just treating it as a first-aid case.”

Many items on the construction to-do list have been completed by 98 percent, but some supply chain issues will cause a delay of the precast (a premade concrete form of a structural element for the building) from December of this year to January 2023, he said.

A visit to a neighboring jail facility seemed to be a validation that many aspects of Genesee County’s new jail are on track with what has worked in Greene County, he said.

“It was very informative. We learned a lot of stuff. We talked to the maintenance people about things they like and didn’t like. “But (the county’s architect) had already put most of the lessons learned into your design that the transition team had met with previously,” he said. “So it was, for us, the learning was all very positive.”

Aside from losing seven days to rain, the project is still on course for completion in spring 2024. Masonry work has been started, with about 5 percent completed, he said, and will continue until a steel shipment arrives for another phase of construction.

He showed some areas that were near completion, including a cell mock-up that his team inspected.

“There were very, very minor quality control issues,” he said. “The biggest issues we saw were some of the sharp points that were still left on some of the stainless steel, which is the sink and toilet. And then they also found the mirrors and the grab bars,” he said. “So we were pretty thorough, running our fingers over everything just to make sure there’s not a sharp point."

He had a feeling that further inspections will cause those items with sharp points to be removed and fixed. He marveled at how smooth and shiny a steel mirror was — the reflection was like a regular mirror, he said. There was other good news as well, he said.

“We did hit one of the milestones, which is getting all of the foundations complete for the Admin Building and for the pods. So that's 100 percent complete and finished … three days ahead of schedule, so that was good,” he said.

Construction began in May next door to County Building #2 on Route 5 in the town of Batavia. The 184-bed facility has a total contractor cost of $57,272,800. A target completion date has been set for March 2024.

Go HERE for prior coverage. 

Carl York, senior project manager for The Pike Company, shows photos during the county's Public Services Committee meeting Monday at the Old Courthouse in Batavia. Photos by Joanne Beck. Editor's note: The Batavian has requested the report with photos.

Authentically Local