LITTLE VALLEY — Cattaraugus County lawmakers are looking at external safety measures that could be installed outside county office buildings in Little Valley and Olean.
Both the Cattaraugus County Center at the county seat and the County Office Building off Buffalo Street in Olean have entrances equipped with metal detectors manned by sheriff’s deputies.
Legislator Kip Morrow, R-Portville, was speaking with deputies at the County Office Building in Olean recently when he realized the glass doors at the entrance didn’t provide very much protection from someone intent on driving into the building.
A member of the County Legislature’s County Operations/ Public Safety Committee, Morrow suggested Wednesday that county officials look into installing concrete bollards and some large stone near the entrance to prevent that kind of incident.
“That’s a pretty good idea,” replied Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb. “Maybe we should take a look at this building too.”
When committee chairman Richard Klancer, R-Gowanda, asked about bollards or some other barriers for the main entrance to the County Center in Little Valley, Mark Burr of the Department of Public Works’ engineering office, suggested the committee might be interested in something that blends in with the exterior.
“If we are looking, let’s look at everything,” Klancer said, noting that protective barriers should probably be in front of the sheriff’s office as well.
Whitcomb noted there was an incident involving an armed man who attempted to enter the County Office Building in Olean about 16 years ago. He had been in Family Court inside the building earlier.
Officers stationed at the entrance to the building intercepted the man, armed with a shotgun, before he got inside, Whitcomb said.
Burr said public works would consult with Whitcomb and his staff over designs for barriers outside the county buildings.
Earlier, the Public Works Committee selected an option for a $4 million kitchen replacement and dining room project at the county’s Pines Nursing Home in Olean. The option was slightly more expensive due to bringing in a portable kitchen during construction, Burr said.
However, it should enable the project to be completed sooner — about 15 months, he said. It adds about $100,000 to the cost of the project. The nursing home was built in 1970 and the kitchen needs replacing.
The County Legislature will seek bids to continue the private operation of the kitchen facility and comparing those costs with what it would cost the county to hire staff to run the kitchen, as is done at the Machias Pines.
Burr also obtained permission from the committee to seek bids for temporary connections to the Olean Pines’ two domestic hot water boilers, which are failing. The connections will allow a temporary mobile boiler to be connected to the system while the boilers are being replaced.
Burr also reviewed three proposed capital projects the public works staff is recommending.
They include a $400,000 project to replace the existing elevator in the County Center in Little Valley and install a new elevator in the space next to it. County officials had hoped the state Office of Court Administration would pay up to half the cost. Burr said they are offering about $25,000.
Also, an extensive electrical upgrade at the Five Points refuse transfer station, costing an estimated $135,000, is needed, plus about $50,000 for paving at the new Franklinville Highway Barn.
After accounting for available funds, Burr said the county would need about $385,000 to complete the three projects which were not budgeted.
County Administrator Jack Searles suggested 2019 sales tax revenue destined for the road fund be diverted to pay for the three projects. The funds must be earmarked soon, he added.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)