Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Paul Koenig firstname.lastname@example.org
FARMINGDALE — The Board of Selectmen had planned to award the three-year plowing contract at its meeting Wednesday, but the decision could be delayed because of residents' objection to the contract at the board's meeting last week.
Doug Ebert, board chairman, said the selectmen will discuss how the contract was written and whether they want to choose a contractor at their meeting.
"Anything's a possibility at this point," he said this morning.
The selectmen plan to meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Town Office.
Although four contractors attended the mandatory pre-bid meeting July 29, only two submitted bids.
McGee Construction, of West Gardiner, bid $192,000 for each of the first three years of the contract, as well as the optional fourth year; and Ellis Construction, of Farmingdale, bid $162,500 for each of the first three years and $170,000 for the optional fourth year.
E.C. Barry and Son Construction, of Farmingdale, and Frank Monroe Construction, of Whitefield, didn't bid.
Frank Monroe declined to comment on why he didn't bid on the contract. A phone call to E.C. Barry Construction wasn't returned.
A couple of residents at the board's meeting last week said they think requiring contractors to have a dedicated sand-and-salt storage facility clearly separate from those of other towns kept companies such as E.C. Barry and Son Construction, which stores sand and salt for the town of Randolph at its Maine Avenue property, from bidding.
The requirement to have all material stored at the sand-and-salt facility used exclusively for the town of Farmingdale wasn't included in the previous contract.
David Sirois, selectman and acting road commissioner, defended the new contract at the meeting last week and said any of the contractors could have factored the cost of a sand-and-salt storage facility into a bid.
"The contract doesn't have to be changed," he said. "Nothing's wrong with the contract."
Ebert has said the selectmen included the requirement for separate sand and salt piles to ensure the town doesn't run out of sand and salt, as it did in the last two winters.
The winter road maintenance contract is perennially a controversial issue.
Three years ago, the board split the contract into three portions — rural roads, urban roads and sidewalks — in the hope of saving money. The selectmen awarded all three contracts to Ellis Construction after McGee Construction and E.C. Barry and Son Construction turned down the rural road contract, and E.C. Barry and Son Construction turned down the sidewalks contract.
"There are some people in town that don't like the contractors. That's what I'm getting," Ebert said. "It's unfortunate, but there are people in town like that."
Voters rejected a proposal from the selectmen at the June annual Town Meeting to buy property with a state-approved sand-and-salt shed used by Ellis Construction.
The board had proposed buying the 3.67-acre plot for up to $85,000 from Bruce Ellis, father of Chris Ellis, who owns the construction company.
That facility would have been used by whoever won the winter road maintenance contract.
Paul Koenig — 621-5663