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Highway department working on new home one year later

DANNEMORA - The construction of a new highway department garage in the town of Dannemora is almost complete one year after a devastating fire destroyed the former garage.

America "Ves" Pivetta, who assumed the role of town supervisor Jan. 1, 2010, was on his first day on the job when fire destroyed the Town Garage Road structure near Chazy Lake.

"It burned everything," recalled Pivetta.

The process to replace the former garage - a circa 1961 Quonset hut - and the approximately $1 million worth of equipment inside was a long one, said Pivetta. Three snowplows and a front-end loader were destroyed, leading the town to purchase new ones to replace them.

"The three new snowplows were $166,000 a piece and the front-end loader was about $121,000," said Pivetta. "After studying the situation, we didn't try to get used equipment. We brought in new equipment because we wanted equipment that wouldn't break down."

"If you buy used equipment, it can cost way more money in parts and labor to keep it running rather than purchasing new ones," added Pivetta.

The cost to build the new 90 sq. ft by 120 sq. ft. building was $2 million, funded partly by $400,000 provided by insurance coverage on the former building, said Pivetta. The town council moved forward an increase in the town tax levy in November and moved forward with taking out two loans, at 30 years and 20 years, respectively, to cover the remainder of the cost.

"We had to do what we did," said Pivetta.

The council stopped short with plans to move the town offices to the new building, however, space was still allotted in the event the idea is brought forth in the future, said Pivetta. The idea was to not put any further burden on taxpayers by adding more to the project, the supervisor added.

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