“As a former Village Trustee and Deputy Mayor in Greenwood Lake, I know firsthand the hardships that Wicks Law brings to local governments,” said Rabbitt. “This law creates inefficiencies by unnecessarily requiring multiple bids and contracts, increasing the chances for contract disputes, delaying project completion, and increasing overall costs. The unfortunate reality is that already overwhelmed taxpayers must pay for cost increases associated with Wicks Law.”
The Ranking Minority Member on the Assembly’s Local Governments Committee, Rabbitt explains that under Wicks Law local governments, including school districts, engaged in public work construction projects with a total cost in excess of $50,000, must contract separately for the following three components of the job: plumbing and gas fitting; steam heating, hot water heating, ventilating and air conditioning apparatus; and electric wiring and standard illuminating fixtures. This multiple contracting process contrasts with a single contracting option, which would enable localities to select one general contractor who employs subcontractors and overseers as well as coordinates the entire project.
“The intent of Wicks Law is admirable,” said Rabbitt. “However, reform is needed so that we can protect the small contractors while not passing on cost increases to the local taxpayers.”
Rabbitt concluded by saying that while there was yet no agreement, the open negotiation process was working and that they will continue to debate this important issue until a legislative agreement is reached.