Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Norco's Courthouse Unfinished 1 1/2 Years After its Dedication

"We're shooting for the end of April."

That's the goal Northampton County's energetic Director of Public Works, Steve DeSalvo, set when he told council a few months ago about finishing the courthouse expansion.

He missed.

Although this courthouse was already dedicated back in December '05, lots of little things keep popping up. Here's a fer' instance. The judges' glorious, wind-sensitive fountain was given a test run last week. Waters shot up majestically, perhaps even triumphantly, as armed guards surrounded the perimeter to keep the peasants' children away. Suddenly, without warning, Phhhhhttt. Everything stopped. Apparently, contractors forgot to drain the water last winter and the pipes burst.


My main concern is the cafeteria. We've nowhere to go. I've started eating lunch in a bathroom stall, which is incidentally a great way to lose weight! Latest word is the public dining area won't be ready until late July.

I don't know how the bid is going, but I understand the first specials will be asbestos burgers.


Anonymous said...

sure it didn't just shut down automatically? i understand it has a "wind sensor", and if angle was at the test run...

Bernie O'Hare said...

I understand contractor Butz is tryinmg to tell the county this is an "Act of God." So you may be right. It may, indeed, be Angle.

Anonymous said...

The money is in the budget, it was in the budget for years. This is another example of an incompetent administration. Naturally the blame will go back to Reibman, it always will but the truth be told at least he had a plan. This executive is in over his head and his 'team' are cluless. It won't be reported but if you're here day in and day out it is pretty obvious. I know thats hard to swallow so just go along and drink the kool-aide.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I may have sainted Stoffa, but you've demonized him, and you don't have a clue what you're talking about when it comes to this. First, the cost overruns and delays are almost definitely the result of no one being at home on the fourth floor when Reibman was in office. Copntractors were seriously behind before Stoffa ever set foot in the place. Instead of having an unfinished courthouse dedicated to him, he should have been working on finishing the job. Second, there is no money for this. It is not a budget item. it is a bond item. And there's no money, either in the budget or bond, to replace a fountain that the constractor screwed up.

Dislike Stoffa if you must, but be fair about it.

Anonymous said...

Beg your pardon but there is over six million left in the bond for the courthouse. The cash surplus/reserve whatever one wants to call it is flush. Two months of cash reserve is unecessary , one month is more than sufficient. Revenue is pouring in due to new construction and business. We have an unnecessary new tax a cowardly council passes adding even more money. After a year and a half the'problems' remain I guess be it four years or eight they will be the fault of Reibman. Demonize! I doubt those are the facts. I realize this is a wasted effort on this blog and I won't bother sending anymore. But before you accuse me of demonizing I think you should examine your own beliefs about Reibman. Maybe instead of an unneeded new Human Service building to bear his name this new team should have focused on the so called unfinshed aspects of the courthouse. You are right about one thing, Stoffa won and history is written by the winners and their agents.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The courthouse expansion is between $1 and $3 MM over budget. It would be at $3 MM but for the efforts of DeSalva, who was appointed by Stoffa. Your facts are wrong, dude.

Between 2 and 3 months of cash reserve is a prudent practice recommended by nearly all accountants, including thse employed by the county.

The "unnecessary" new tax was something Stoffa had promised when he ran - it's for open space. Most of us think that's necessary.

In hindsight, I'd say Reibman was the worst county exec we've had. He sold government to the highest bidder, was evidenced by his finance reports. He was unresponsive, and mismanaged the county. The only person who kept things together was Hickey. When he left, the county spiralled downhill.

In this instance, the fault was with the contractor, selected by Reibman, who bit off more than the county could chew with a $111 MM bond that threw money everywhere.