News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, August 3, 2017
No bid process for new Salt Pond access road

by Anne Berleant

Road Commissioner Paul Carter will be tapped to build the Salt Pond access road, based on discussion at a July 27 Sedgwick Selectmen’s meeting.

Construction of the road needs to begin in early August to be completed by October, the time frame required by the Department of Environmental Protection.

First Selectman Michael Sheahan raised the question of bidding the job during discussion of the project, but Second Selectman Colby Pert and Third Selectman Ben Astbury spoke against it.

“This is going to be a town-owned road and, ultimately, responsibility falls on the road commissioner,” Astbury said.

The access road is being funded through a $25,000 grant from Next Generation, which gave a six-acre parcel to the town that provides public access to Salt Pond, and $10,000 of town money. Carter would be paid at the state hourly rate, and supply material from his gravel pit, which Astbury noted could be a cost savings. More would be saved from not having to supply engineer designs for a bid specification package, Pert added.

Sheahan brought up the three-year snow plow contract, which was renewed in 2016 without a bid process. “Everyone said after the process, why didn’t we go out to bid?”

Selectmen were authorized to renew the contract based on the town warrant article and language in the previous contract, Pert said.

“What municipal project would be up for bid? If those two [snowplow and new road] don’t fit, then what would?” Sheahan asked.

“If it was a project accepting state or federal funds, it would trigger a bid process,” Astbury said.

A case in point was the public landing project, funded through state grants.

“I’m not saying Paul [Carter]’s not the best man for the job,” Sheahan said. “[My] arguments are about the process. In the end, we need a road built by the best possible candidate for the least amount of money. I don’t know how we can know that without a bid process.”

“I hear both sides of it,” Astbury said.

A motion pertaining to the new road was tabled.

“No action is needed tonight, unless we’re going to go [out] to bid,” Pert said.