Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 8, 2012

County entering lease deal with Ulrich

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — The county Legislature has authorized a lease agreement with area developer David Ulrich for record storage space in Newfane.

Ulrich's Clear Opportunity Properties LLC will improve and let 28,000 square feet on Transit Road, where the Lockport Mattress Company once had a factory, on a five-year lease. The county will pay $4.45 per square foot or approximately $125,000 a year for the space, which is to house all kinds of paper records kept by the county clerk's office.

Two buildings presently serving as storage for county records, on the Davison Road campus, are full and one, a former nurses' residence, is in bad shape, according to County Clerk Wayne Jagow; records there are potentially threatened and should be moved as soon as possible.

The county is striking a deal with Ulrich at the same time it's expecting to sell most of the Davison Road campus to R.B. Mac construction company. The sale of land and improvements including the two records storage sites is "imminent," says the resolution authorizing a lease with Clear Opportunity — although Assistant County Attorney Thomas Burgasser later said those buildings will not be part of the sale.

The legislature's three-member Democratic caucus opposed the lease deal on Tuesday. Minority Leader Dennis Virtuoso insisted the county should bid out its space needs per purchasing guidelines that the Legislature just approved last year.

County Attorney Claude Joerg advised the guidelines apply to the procurement of "goods" and "services" — and leased real property is neither. The county's need for controlled-environment space for records storage is too unique to be the subject of a Request for Proposals, he added.

Virtuoso and Joerg argued the point literally, with Virtuoso denoucing the no-bid lease deal as "unbelievable" and "despicable" and Joerg loudly pronouncing himself tired of Virtuoso's "hide the ball" partisan theatrics.

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