Farmington board rejects bids for Community Center roof project, requests additional quotes

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FARMINGTON – The Farmington select board held a public hearing on Tuesday evening regarding Riverside Greenhouse and Florist’s application into the Community Development Block Grant Program. Garrett Reynolds, owner of Riverside, shared that the application has been accepted into the next phase of the process. The board moved to accept the application and shared that they are glad to see the business developing.

Representatives from the new town counsel firm, Preti Flaherty, introduced themselves after coming from a meeting with the town office staff. Kristin Collins and Stephen Langsdorf both have experience working with towns like Farmington; Langsdorf told the board that he has been the Rangeley town attorney for the past 32 years. They recognized the shift the town is making to a larger firm and assured the board that they would be available for all of the town’s needs.

“Our goal is to be here for every possible issue under the sun,” Collins said. “We have somebody at the firm who can handle it.”

They shared that Preti Flaherty currently represents around 20 towns of all sizes throughout Maine, including Brunswick, Belfast, and Kittery. The new town manager, Erica LaCroix, was present at the meeting and shared her success working with Langsdorf in Winslow and her excitement to continue working with a firm she has experience with.

In other business, the board heard from Thaddeus Gabryszewski of Lincoln Haney Engineering in regards to the Community Center roof project. Gabryszewski reported that in the second round of bidding, they received two bids, both of which were over the predicted cost. He expressed his opinion that the high bids were due to the fact that the project is undesirable for many companies.

“This isn’t the real price, this is the “unfortunately no one wants to work on this project” price and so we’re going to make it worth our while,” Gabryszewski explained what Kyla Magnuson of Preferred Construction Management Company had expressed to him.

Gabryszewski made the recommendation not to accept either bid at this time, stating that they “are not reasonable bids.” He suggested negotiating a price with Sheridan, who is currently working elsewhere in the town, going off the likelihood that large contractors with business nearby would be more likely to take the job.

“We don’t have any choice but to look in a different direction if we can’t change the project,” Selectman Dennis O’Neil said, citing the impossibility of changing the project particulars at this point. Selectman Joshua Bell made a motion to refuse the two bids and request a few quotes from reputable companies. The motion passed unanimously.

The board was scheduled to review and sign a warrant for a Special Town Meeting. Selectman Bell brought up the possibility of putting off this meeting in order to include the zoning changes to the town’s solar ordinance. After some discussion on the logistics, Bell made a motion to postpone review of the Special Town Meeting warrant to hopefully include the solar zoning changes. All were in favor.

This meeting was recorded by Mt. Blue TV and is available for viewing online at MtBlueTV.org

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