Sunday, December 8, 2013
By Paul Koenig email@example.com
FARMINGDALE — The Board of Selectmen delayed its decision to choose a contractor to plow the town’s roads for the next three years after continued objections from residents about the fairness of the process.
Most of the roughly 10 residents who spoke at Wednesday night’s board meeting complained about the quality of snowplowing by the previous recipient of the three-year winter maintenance contract — Ellis Construction — and about the requirement to have separate sand-and-salt piles, which kept some contractors from bidding.
Ellis Construction, of Farmingdale, submitted the lowest bid for this year. Four contractors attended the mandatory pre-bid meeting July 29, but only two submitted bids.
Doug Ebert, board chairman, said the selectmen will discuss the options, including possibly revising and reissuing the contract, before deciding.
He said his concern about putting the contract out to bid is that other companies could undercut the contractors who already had their bids revealed last week.
Ellis Construction bid $162,500 for each of the first three years and $170,000 for the optional fourth year
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.
E.C. Barry and Son Construction, of Farmingdale, and Frank Monroe Construction, of Whitefield, attended the pre-bid meeting but didn’t bid.
Resident William Weeks, a vocal opponent of the contract, said requiring bidders to have a dedicated storage facility wasn’t fair to those that don’t already have one. He also raised concerns about the quality of Ellis Construction’s plowing.
“The lowest price is not the best deal for the people of Farmingdale,” Weeks said. “And I strongly suggest that you do remove the requirement for the dedicated salt-and-sand station in order to open it up to more contractors, so the townspeople of Farmingdale know there isn’t anything going on under the table.”
Eugene Moreau, a former Farmingdale selectman, defended Ellis Construction’s work and said the contract isn’t as competitive as it could be because residents at this year’s Town Meeting rejected the town’s proposal to buy land with a sand-and-salt storage facility.
The discussion about the snowplowing contract lasted almost an hour after the selectmen tabled the decision, and it shifted to personal attacks at times.
Selectman James Grant twice asked residents to be civil while speaking.
“This is your forum to speak your concerns to us,” he said. “Let’s keep it civil, please, because you’re not going to get anywhere if you’re barking back and forth at each other.”
Before discussing the snowplowing contract, the board opened bids for the mowing contract and selected Excalibur, of Farmingdale, with a bid of $1,900. Crockett Contractors and Dale Choate Construction, both of Farmingdale, bid $2,300 and $2,727, respectively.
Paul Koenig — 621-5663