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Police stations focus of Uniontown council meeting

| Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

Uniontown City Council will make safety improvements at the police station and will consider assuming ownership of the former police station.

Council unanimously agreed this week to accept low bidder B.Z. Construction LLC's revised proposal of $30,000 to replace doors and windows at the current police station on Penn Street.

John Over of K2 Engineering recommended that council accept the revised proposal.

“It's necessary that we improve safety issues at the current police station,” Over said. “The windows and doors need to be replaced.”

Councilman Gary Gearing asked solicitor J.W. Eddy if it was necessary for the city to advertise for bids a second time because “the scope of the project changed.”

“We decided to use value-engineered materials. We reduced the gauge of the steel door,” Over said. “We also decided to do some of the work, such as painting, in-house to save some money.”

Eddy said another bidding process would not be necessary because the city modified the work by less than 20 percent.

Council tabled action on authorizing Eddy to execute a quick-claim deed for the former police station on Peter Street near city hall.

The former station is owned by R.W. and Lana Washabaugh of Fort Worth, Texas, according to Eddy. Mayor Ed Fike said the Washabaughs purchased the building from the city for $2,500 in 1996, but never renovated it.

“There have been many code violations at the building,” Eddy said. “The property owners issued the city a quick-claim deed for the property. But we prefer a general warranty or a special warranty. In any case, we will have the title to the building.”

Council tabled a decision to allow Eddy to find out if the Washabaughs will issue a general warranty or special warranty on the building.

“I don't know exactly what plans the city has for the building,” Eddy said.

Over said the building is old and has significant interior and exterior damage.

“The ceiling in the building actually fell,” Over said. “I don't know if the city wants to tear it down and install a parking lot at the site or spend about $100,000 to make necessary repairs.”

In other business, city employee Phil Mahoney said he wanted to warn Uniontown and South Union Township residents of sewage and water line scams. Out-of-town plumbing companies are coming in and overcharging residents to repair water and sewage lines, he said.

“The city needs to address this problem,” Mahoney said. “The Pittsburgh contractors are ripping off elderly homeowners. We want the public to know that any contractor must be licensed by the city in order to do any work in Uniontown. We recommend that homeowners receive at least two bids before they hire a contractor.

“I know one homeowner who was charged $12,000 for a $700 job,” Mahoney said. “The companies are coming into town with preauthorized credit cards and unsuspecting homeowners are signing these cards and signing contracts with the companies. We want residents to know that there are some pretty bad people out there who want to rip them off.”

Council members agreed to make available a list of licensed contractors in city hall for public review.

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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