The Genesee Justice/Jail building at 14 West Main Street needs a new roof, and it seems the County Legislature Ways & Means Committee is in a little tiff with the city over what kind of roofing material is permissible.
The county applied to the city's Historic Preservation Board to replace the current roof with asphalt shingles, but the request was denied, according to minutes from the April 15 Ways & Means Committee meeting minutes.
The lowest of five bids for the re-roofing project, at $197,000, proposed asphalt shingles. The next lowest bid, using synthetic slate is $67,000 higher.
Committee members question whether the city has the authority to declare a county building part of a preservation zone.
The minutes note that the preservation board approved the synthetic slate roof "reluctantly," without any detail on what that means.
A motion to approve the $264,000 bid from Grove Roofing Services was tabled after some discussion and the matter was referred to the county attorney for further review.
During the discussion, County Legislator Jay Grasso noted that both City Hall and the new county courthouse have asphalt roofs.
At about 1 p.m. today, we e-mailed City Manager Jason Molino for clarification of the city's position and have yet to receive a reply.
UPDATE: After this post, I e-mailed County Manager Jay Gsell to double check whether anything had changed since the April 15 Ways and Means meeting. In response, he made these points:
- City Hall was not directly part of process county pursued to get approval for roof replacement options other than new slate.
- The Historic Preservation Board was called on because of requirements in city Code, but the new buildings (as mentioned above) do not fall under the board's jurisdiction, so it's not an accurate comparison.
- Bids were solicited as required by state law and the roof of this building is complex both interms of removal and new systems/replacement and materials with a 50-year life expectancy (asphalt shingle is 25 years).
"Bottom line is that roof is over 100 years old," Gsell wrote. "It's in bad shape. This building is on Register of Historic Buildings and we intend to keep using for county functions for a long time, including our back up emergency 911 center should 165 Park Road for some bizarre reason not be functional."
The Ways and Means Committee meets tomorrow at 4 p.m. and will revisit this issue.