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County EMA director to seek contractor for garage project

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — The search for a plan to bid a Piscataquis County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) storage garage bid will continue after only one proposal was received after the project went out to bid a second time. With the bid totaling more than double the project estimate, the Piscataquis County Commissioners passed a motion during a July 10 meeting for County EMA Director Tom Capraro to speak with contractors himself and negotiate a proposal for the approximate 1,400-square foot building.

In May three bids for an EMA storage garage all came in multiple times more than the project budget. The garage estimate was between $85,000 and $100,000, and the bids were for $278,836, $342,848 and $476,638.

Last month the structure was put out to bid again with some revisions to the specs, such as eliminating a $100,000 performance bond requirement recommended by the project engineer and taking out a September completion deadline.

Ralph McNaughton Construction of Newport, which bid $278,836 the first time, was the lone bidder for round two (five companies took out paperwork). The second submission from the company was for $259,618.

“Obviously Tom and I both recommend you reject this bid,” County Manager Tom Lizotte said. “Maybe you could waive the competitive bid process and authorize Tom to negotiate with a contractor at a rate not to exceed whatever you recommend.”

The commissioners then passed a motion to this effect, with a cap of $120,000.

“At the end of the day the goal is to save the county money and if the project comes in a less than half the low bid we are saving money,” Commissioners Chair James White said. “The bidding process just didn’t work this time.”

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.

Plans call for the storage garage to have three bays for the 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.

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.

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