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Emergency Friday night meeting may have saved Wellsville nearly half-million dollars

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By John Anderson, 9/17/21, Photo by Andrew Harris

In an effort to save the town of Wellsville nearly half-million dollars, Wellsville Town Supervisor Shad Alsworth called an emergency meeting on Friday night where a resolution was passed to start fixing erosion.

The area is an Army Corp of Engineer Dyke project on State Route 417 that was turned over the town. Alsworth said after the recent storms, erosion and water could affect the Wellsville Hardware store, the  Zippo factory (formerly Northern Lights Candles), Brookside Wesleyan Church and several homes.

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A resolution was passed, 4-0, to have Root Trucking and Logging do a bulk of the work for $15,000. An original quote was for $487,000.

“In talking to Leonard Preston (from Allegany County Soil and Water) and (Wellsville Town Highway Superintendent) Dean Arnold, this should be covered by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency),” said Alsworth. “FEMA would cover over 90 percent, the state covers a portion and the town covers the project somewhere in the 5% range. Obviously, we have some burden, but a portion is expected to be paid through the FEMA process.”

Alsworth said, “The last large storm we had, that affected multiple counties (in the region), compromised and sludged off parts of the dyke into the creek and compromised the integrity of the dyke.”

Alsworth presented a two-page “Supervisor Alsorth Deposition of Events” during the emergency meeting on Friday night, that started with his views on what happened starting on August 11. He said the county soil and water with Arnold wanted to get the project done before Oct. 1 to be eligible for 95% of the project to be funded through a FEMA  grant.

In his letter to the board, Alsworth said Arnold contacted a large construction company that is headquartered in Wellsville and they gave a quote of $387,000 and then an additional $100,000 “to put rip rap on the bank to prevent further erosion.” In his two-page document, Alsowrth said in his opinion, Arnold was giving him the only option and Alsworth said he went after other quotes.

The town board during the emergency meeting, redacted the name of the local construction company that gave the $467,000 quote before entering the document into record on a motion from Town Councilman Mike Miller.

Alsworth said he wanted Arnold at the emergency meeting, but he was unable to attend. Town Councilman Bill Fish was also unable to attend the 5:30 p.m. portion. Miller and Alsworth were in attendance with board members Patty Graves and Jesse Case joining by computer.

A third construction company bid $67,000 and a fourth company that visited the site on Sept. 16 did not submit a bid.

“I’ve had multiple conversations with Leonard Preston, he would be the engineer overseeing this with Allegany County Soil and Water, he helped guide me through this process and will continue to do so in the best interest of the Town of Wellsville and the citizens of Allegany County,” Alsworth said. “Also, we will work with any FEMA representatives who are involved and the Army Corp of Engineers if they are involved.”

Miller asked if the $15,000 would cover the entire project.

Alsworth added, “Preston is confident a bulk of the project will be accomplished in this phase. We will have to add to rip rap to the dyke wall, but nowhere near the estimate of the original number.”

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