Board moves ahead with school plan New Windsor fees present obstacle

September 03, 1993|By Anne Haddad and Traci A. Johnson | Anne Haddad and Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writers

As they work to find a way to pay the unexpectedly high water and sewer connection fees for the new middle school in New Windsor, school officials are forging ahead with construction plans to avoid expensive delays, said Lester Surber, supervisor of school facilities.

"We have to keep the project moving," said Dr. Surber, who is getting the county to issue some specific permits, such as for pouring the foundation for the $7.5 million school to be built on Green Valley Road.

New Windsor Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. and Carroll County officials are working out a way for the county to pay the town $183,600 Mayor Gullo has specified in water and sewer hookup fees.

Until the town is promised that money, Mayor Gullo said, he won't sign his name to the building permit as the supplier of water and sewer service to the school.

The rest of the permit is complete, but the county can't issue it until the mayor agrees to supply the water.

"As I stated before, it is up to the school board to provide payment, and I have not heard from the school board about a method of payment," Mr. Gullo said. "I'll consider all options, but the bottom line is that school board owes us that amount of money."

Even if the general building permit isn't ready next week, Dr. Surber said, he and staff in the county's Permits and Inspections office are working out some specific permits. Doing it that way is more time-consuming than one general permit, Dr. Surber said, but avoids an expensive delay in construction.

He said that if the school system and county put the construction on hold, the contractor could file a delay claim later if materials, labor, equipment or other costs go up as a result of the delay.

Dr. Surber said he believes work can begin next week on pouring the concrete footings and foundation, and installation of steel reinforcement rods that will eventually support the school's bricks and mortar. A grading permit allowed some of the groundwork to begin several weeks ago.

"The school has made the best of the situation by doing those things that they can do without the necessary agreement [that requires his signature], as I have observed by looking at the work over at the construction site," Mr. Gullo commented.

Dr. Surber said he would try to get permits for laying the underground sewer and water pipes, but was not sure yet whether the county could grant the permit for the sewer and water pipes before Mayor Gullo signs the general permit.

Mr. Gullo said that although the town wants to cooperate with the county to build the new school, it would not be a good investment to lay the pipes before the services are promised.

"As far as I am concerned, if the county feels that it will allow them [the school system] to lay sewer lines, that's their responsibility," Mr. Gullo said. "But they have to understand that there is the possibility that I will not provide the services."

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