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Cost to maintain heating and cooling system in Amityville Village Hall upsets officials

The Amityville Village Hall on Ireland Place in

The Amityville Village Hall on Ireland Place in Amityville Village on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. Credit: Steve Pfost

A clogged heating and cooling system in Amityville Village Hall will need up to $100,000 worth of maintenance over the next five years, Amityville officials said.

Trustees said they were upset about the costs to maintain the system, which employs geothermal technology and was a keystone of the $9.6 million building's 2010 LEED green building certification.

Buildup from iron in the well water that the system circulates throughout the building is clogging a pump and other parts of the system, village officials said.

"I can tell you, for the record, I am not happy about it," said Department of Public Works superintendent Bruce Hopper at Monday night's village board meeting.

Hopper said he was not consulted during installation of the system. Trustee Nick LaLota said that lack of consultation was a "massive error of judgment" by then-Mayor Peter Imbert's administration. Imbert could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Glenn Soffler of Mineola-based Dynaire Corp., which maintains the system, said groundwater tests were conducted before the system was installed. He said the amount of maintenance required by the system is "not normal," but said he did not know the reason.

Victor Canseco, president of Southampton-based Sandpebble Builders Inc., which managed the Village Hall construction project, said the maintenance costs sounded abnormally high. "I've never heard of a number that high on any project we've done," he said.

The system does require regular basic maintenance, he said, but typical costs are far below the $100,000 figure over the next five years as quoted at the Village Board meeting. Village Clerk Diane Sheridan did not respond to a request for a breakdown of that maintenance estimate.

Trustees LaLota and Dennis Siry said the board will call in the contractor and engineer in coming weeks to discuss the issue.

Smaller problems with the building have popped up before, both trustees said. LaLota noted that the village will also have to spend an estimated $100,000 to bring the building into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

"It's supposed to save us tons of money because it's so energy-efficient, and that's not the case right now," Siry said.

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