Cortland County 911 center project interior to be finished in the fall

The site of the future Cortland County emergency response center in the city of Cortland. (Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith of The Cortland Voice).

The rehabilitation of a building at 22 W. Court St. to host Cortland County’s emergency response center has been long in the works for and could cost up to $1.3 million, county legislators announced Tuesday.

Scott Roman, the county’s director of emergency response and communications, said the project has been in consideration for three-and-a-half years.

The project is being worked on in phases. This first phase, Roman said, will focus on rehabbing the inside of the building and could be done in eight months. Currently, the emergency dispatch crew operates out of the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office at 54 Greenbush St.

Legislators awarded construction bids for the refurbished building Tuesday at the County Legislature’s Buildings and Grounds committee meeting. 

Below is a list of awarded contracts. The accepted bids are in bold lettering:

The county, Roman said, has a Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant (SICG) for $1,572,808, administered by the State’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES). The grant program is meant to aid municipalities in enhancing their emergency response capabilities by investing in public safety communications networks, stated by SICG guidelines.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced the grant amounts back in August last year.

“This funding is critical to strengthening New York’s emergency response capabilities, in situations where every second counts,” Hochul said. “We are laser focused on making smart investments in public safety across the state and these grants will be a significant boost for local governments working around the clock to keep New Yorkers safe.”

The funding is formula-based and provided through cellular surcharge revenue. The New York Tax Law imposes a public safety communications surcharge on prepaid wireless services. That fee is about $.90 for every prepaid mobile phone or prepaid minutes in the state. Cortland County’s surcharge is $1.20, in line with what most other counties charge.

“The plumbing work we are going to pay for through our department because the grant won’t cover plumbing,” Roman said Tuesday. “We are ready to go.”

Part of the current phase of the project includes hiring a construction manager. Roman said the proposal from Construction Associates, LLC, would consist of a construction manager who works on the project for 20 hours-per-week until close out in September. The fee proposed by the Baldwinsville-based company is $70,000. The budget for Roman’s department is set to cover the fee for the construction manager.

Legislative chair Kevin Fitch (R-LD-8) asked Roman if his department planned to address the outside of the building.

“That could be part of an upcoming phase,” Roman said, noting that the project could target a “protecting critical infrastructure grant” from New York state. “Right now, we are looking at making the building habitable, getting it up and running and moving in. By the time we get in the building, it could be October or November.”

Because move-in date would be close to winter, Roman said the building’s exterior may be worked on in 2024.