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Officials divided on seawall rehab project

Oyster Bay officials are to vote next week on changes to a seawall construction project that sparked rare public dissent among town board members.

The $400,000 change order to the extensive face-lift of Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay hamlet would allow for paver walkways to be installed as part of the seawall rehabilitation, acting public works commissioner Richard Betz said in late June.

Oyster Bay-based Woodstock Construction Company, which has a $1.4 million contract to repair the seawall, would also do the paver work, according to the change order.

Betz said the walkways were originally part of a later phase of the park's renovation. By making that project part of the seawall work, the town would avoid having to install temporary walkways, saving about $50,000, he said.

The change order has been tabled, reintroduced and retabled since it first appeared on the town board agenda May 15.

It was the subject of a tense exchange June 19 between Town Supervisor John Venditto and Councilman Anthony Macagnone, who said Monday he thinks the paver work is too expensive and should have gone out to bid.

Macagnone last month voted against taking it off the table with an emphatic "No!" He said he had not received documents detailing the proposed work.

Venditto slapped his hand against the meeting table to call the room back to order.

"I want to be sure that when you look at this, you give an honest appraisal of whether or not he [the contractor] is entitled to have this money by virtue of the work performed," Venditto said, later reiterating that Macagnone should vote "only on the merits without regard for anything else that might be going on."

Venditto had the matter retabled until July 10, so Macagnone could get a "satisfactory explanation" about the work.

Macagnone yesterday said he since has talked with Betz about the scope of the walkway project, and is contacting other contractors to ask how much they would charge for the same work.

"I want to see if the price is where it should be," he said.

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