Friday, December 6, 2013
By Paul Koenig firstname.lastname@example.org
FARMINGDALE — The Board of Selectmen will open the sealed bids for the three-year snow plowing contract at its meeting Wednesday and likely choose a contractor by its meeting next week.
The winter road maintenance contract — the most expensive one for the town — has been a source of contention in the past. Most recently, opponents of Rickey McKenna, the former chairman of the board who was defeated in June, claimed awarding the contract to Ellis Construction three years ago showed favoritism for owner Chris Ellis.
The selectmen will open the bids at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Office.
Three years ago, the select board split the contract into three portions — rural roads, urban roads and sidewalks. The selectmen awarded all three contracts to Ellis Construction after McGee Construction turned down the rural road contract and E.C. Barry and Son Construction turned down the sidewalks contract.
The three contracts totaled $504,000 for three years.
The town switched back to one contract for winter road maintenance this year. Doug Ebert, chairman of the board, said the bid process should be more effective because one contractor will handle the whole contract.
The select board also held a mandatory pre-bid meeting last week to avoid potential concerns about the transparency and fairness of the bidding process, Ebert said.
"That's typically something that hasn't been done in the past," Ebert said. "That way all the contractors know everything that was said and what was bid on."
He said he doesn't expect concerns to be raised about the bid process. David Sirois, a selectman and the acting road commissioner, agreed with Ebert.
"As long as they follow the contact and bid to it, they should be fine, we should be fine," Sirois said.
McGee Construction, E.C. Barry and Son Construction, Frank Monroe Construction and Ellis Construction attended the meeting, according to Ebert.
The selectmen clarified a few parts of the contract at the meeting, including stating that contractors can use two sand-and-salt storage areas, as long as they are approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection and have piles clearly separate from materials for other towns.
Contractors are required to store the salt and sand themselves.
The Board of Selectmen proposed purchasing a 3.67-acre plot with a state-approved sand and salt shed on it for not more than $85,000 from Bruce Ellis, father of Chris Ellis, but residents rejected it at the June Town Meeting.
Paul Koenig — 621-5663