PARIS — The Oxford County commissioners will examine a wide field of contenders after eight contractors offered their services to repair deteriorating roads in Albany Township.
County Administrator Scott Cole sent out a request for proposals earlier this month to provide comprehensive road maintenance on county roads for a three-year period. The county is responsible for 24 miles of paved and unpaved roads in Albany.
Residents of the township have appeared before the commissioners to complain of poor road conditions. The issues include serious potholes and other poor conditions, narrow roads, dead trees that could fall into the roads, and inadequate space on the side of the roads to deposit snow during snowplowing season.
In a letter to Albany residents, Cole said the contractor chosen for summer maintenance may be kept on for a year-round contract to include snow removal. The township may also be divided into two different contract zones to increase the amount of work that may be done this summer. A final decision has not been made on either option.
The county’s request for proposals asked contractors to provide an inventory of their equipment, equipment rates, sources of building materials, and a statement of qualifications. It also requires the contractor to abide by several conditions, such as compliance with applicable laws and at least one point of contact.
The contractors vying for the work are Wilson Excavating of Waterford; Cross Excavation of Bethel; Everett Hatstat and Son of Albany; D.A. Wilson and Co. of Bethel; C.H. Stevenson of Wayne; Tyler Construction of Albany; Bruce A. Manzer of Anson; and TRS Timber Maintenance of Waterford.
Chairman Steve Merrill said Tuesday that the best option might be to narrow down the applicants and bring in the top choices for interviews before awarding a bid. Cole said the county has funds available in its unincorporated territories budget to address the roads, and that the 2011 fiscal year funds can be used beginning July 1.
Cole said the county has been pleased with the work of several of the contractors, but that it would be advantageous to look at equipment rates and other factors. He said it will also be important to determine the commitment of the contractors, saying the work on county roads has sometimes slipped to a lower priority among other projects.
Some residents attended the meeting and accused county Road Commissioner Richard McInnis of becoming too involved in the road projects in Albany and inhibiting the work of contractors. Charles and Dorothy Googins of Swain Hill Road asked that an engineer be put on the project.
“He’s a surveying engineer, not a road engineer,” Charles said of McInnis. “He delays them more than anybody else.”
Cole said McInnis is needed for the bid process, as he is knowledgeable of the Albany roads and the issues associated with them. Earl Tyler, who was awarded the snowplowing contract for the township last year and is applying for the summer maintenance work, said McInnis is trying to save money where he can.
“The work was performed, but maybe not to the specifications that should have been out there,” Tyler said.
Dave Keniston, a resident of Baker Road, said he was concerned about routine maintenance. He said the potholes remain in the roads several months after the end of snowplowing season, and suggested that the county could request assistance from the National Guard in the project.
Cole said a contractor will likely be chosen before the commissioners’ next regular meeting in June.