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The Times
  • Ilion DPW garage to undergo changes

  • Some changes will have to be made at the Ilion Department of Public Works garage but, in the short run at least, they won’t have to be as extensive as those indicated in a report the village recently received.

    The report from Workers Compensation Alliance, in Long Island, and subsequent findings by village officials were the topic of a special village board meeting Wednesday evening.

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  • Some changes will have to be made at the Ilion Department of Public Works garage but, in the short run at least, they won’t have to be as extensive as those indicated in a report the village recently received.
    The report from Workers Compensation Alliance, in Long Island, and subsequent findings by village officials were the topic of a special village board meeting Wednesday evening.
    Bill Van Gorder and George R. Busch II, of Mang Insurance Agency, which manages the village’s risk for property, casualty and workers’ compensation insurance, were on hand to discuss the matter with the board.
    Van Gorder said his firm had not been managing the village’s workers’ compensation policy at the time the report was issued in May and had only received a copy recently.
    Mayor John Stephens said the first he was aware of the report was two-and-a-half to three weeks ago when Van Gorder contacted him about it. “It was undated,” he said. “It was never received.”
    Van Gorder called the report “scathing” and said while some problems at the DPW garage had come up in previous reports, they were categorized as “non-critical.”
    Busch reviewed the report’s findings, which included the following:
    • Contaminated waste material stored under the building.
    • Mold in the building.
    • Structural deficiencies.
    • Leaky roof.
    • Standing water in the building presenting an electrical hazard.
    • Highway employees working without protective equipment.
    Van Gorder said after receiving the report, he and Busch had visited the garage with Loren Pratt of Comp Alliance and the mayor and found that several of the deficiencies listed in the report were unfounded. Checking around the building and reviewing village records turned up no evidence of hazardous waste being stored at the site.
    DPW Superintendent Jack Sterling said the inspector may have seen 55-gallon drums on National Grid property nearby and thought they were on village property.
    While the DPW garage is old, a structural review did not find any pulling apart, cracking or bowing in the supports.
    “There was no evidence of damage to the concrete walls’ exterior and no fear of bricks falling,” said Busch. He added the roof does leak. “We are all well aware of the roof problem.”
    Busch said it was not raining when they went to look at the building, so there was no standing water. He said the electrical hazard may have referred to the fact there are electrical outlets in the area where there was standing water, although there was no indication workers were using electrical equipment there.
    There is mold in the DPW superintendent’s office, according to Busch, but he added a permanent solution to this problem will probably have to wait until after the roof is repaired.
    Page 2 of 2 - He said the statement DPW workers were not wearing protective gear was not specific; more information would be needed to determine if there was a problem.
    Van Gorder said Comp Alliance initially wanted to offer the village only a six-month policy, but has since agreed to a 12-month policy.
    He said there should be a survey of the building to determine what needs to be done, but added there is nothing structurally wrong with it.
    “That doesn’t mean it’s still not sub-par,” added Stephens. He said steps should be taken to minimize the amount of time employees are in the garage. Sterling’s office will be moved to the municipal building.
    Sterling said while the DPW trucks would still have to be stored in the garage, for about $500 he could make changes that would minimize the amount of time workers spend there. Employees could take their breaks in the newer barn, he said.
    Some partitions will be needed to section off some areas, according to Sterling. The cable TV, which is used to keep up with weather reports, will also have to be relocated.
    “There’s still no denying we have to do something in the near future,” said Stephens. He said in the spring or summer the village should look at renovating or possibly expanding the garage. “We’ll have to get a plan together with Barton & Loguidice,” he said.
    In other business, the board:
    • Approved the appointment of Les Stephens, Lori Slaughter and Kari Slaughter to the village Recreation Commission.
    • Authorized Sterling to have the village’s Vactor repaired at a cost of approximately $1,805.
    • Heard from Trustee Joanne Moore that plans are in place for Sunday’s Christmas tree lighting. Two children from the local elementary schools have been chosen to turn on the lights. The event will start at 6:30 p.m. at the municipal building.
    • Heard from Sterling that leaves will be picked up only if they are set out in bags.

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