Police & Fire

Commissioners table decision on EMA garage

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — With each of three bids for building a Piscataquis County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) storage garage coming in multiple times more than the project budget, the county commissioners opted to table a decision during a May 15 meeting.

“We did receive three bids,” County Manager Tom Lizotte said. “Dirigo Engineering suggests we open the three bids and award the low bidder, dependent on their analysis.”

Plans called for the storage garage to have three bays for the Piscataquis County EMA and a fourth bay for the county maintenance department. The maintenance portion of the structure would be separated from the rest of the building with its own entry. Storage space will be located upstairs for both departments.

The storage garage would be built on the county campus, near the edge of the property by School Street. The EMA structure would be placed away from East Main Street, leaving room for a potential new sheriff’s office.

After Chair James White opened the three envelopes, the commissioners saw Ralph McNaughton Construction of Newport submitted a bid of $278,836, the bid for R.A. Paradis & Son of Newport totaled $342,848 and Gordon Contracting of Sangerville’s bid was for $476,638.

Piscataquis County EMA has $58,000 in capital reserve and $10,000 proposed in the current budget for the garage, which was approved by the commissioners in 2016. With the storage garage being used for emergency management, Homeland Security funds through Maine EMA can reimburse the county’s $16.500 engineering expenses.

“We specced this out, the engineer said it would be between $85,000 and $100,00,” County EMA Director Tom Capraro said.

“Again as Tom (Lizotte) said, we will go back to the drawing board but it’s a shame that has to happen,” Capraro said about the proposals all being significantly overbid.

At the present time the county leases space at a Dover-Foxcroft municipal garage for vehicle and equipment storage, and other EMA gear is housed at the bunker in Milo. The agency also utilizes the county parking lot and building.

“This will be easier for the commissioners because we received no bids for this project,” Lizotte said about ditching work to prepare for paving in Blanchard and Moosehead Junction. He said five bid packages were sent out and one contractor looked at a site but no bids came in. Lizotte said the timing during the busy summer schedule and smaller scope of work are likely reasons why.

The county manager said they can probably get by without ditching on the Mountain Road in Blanchard but work on Depot Street and the Green Tower Hill Road in Moosehead Junction is needed more. He said contractor will be asked if they can perform the upgrades on the side of the road.

“If worse comes to worse, we will just do the paving without the ditching,” Lizotte said.

Last month the low bid of $146,160 submitted by Vaughn D. Thibodeau II of Bangor was approved for .8 miles of paving in Blanchard and just under a mile between the two streets in Moosehead Junction.

“I’m meeting today at 4:30 p.m. with the Atkinson selectmen as they transition into the unorganized territory,” Lizotte said in his report.

He was set to discuss the unorganized territory budget and how expenses for the town would be incorporated into the spending plan should residents vote to deorganize in November. The county would be responsible for services such as road maintenance and plowing and solid waste disposal.

“We don’t start our budget process until August but we have to assume the deorganization referendum is going to pass,” Lizotte said.

In April an Atkinson deorganization bill was approved by the Legislature and then signed by Gov. Paul LePage, setting up a town referendum on the November ballot. The referendum would need to pass by a two-thirds majority with at least 50 percent of voters casting ballots in the last gubernatorial election taking part.

An affirmative vote meeting the criteria would make Atkinson part of the unorganized territory as of July 1, 2019.

The Atkinson municipal budget is around $300,000, so this could increase the unorganized territory budget by around 20 percent from $1.5 million to $1.8 million. County officials will be keeping this in mind as the spending plan is developed later in the year.

To accommodate various employee vacations, the commissioners’ July schedule will switch as the bi-monthly meetings will be on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month (July 10 and July 24) instead of the usual first and third Tuesday.

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