HARRISON — Contracts for a number of maintenance, cleaning and mowing projects will be extended for another season, following a decision by selectmen Thursday night.
Town Manager Bud Finch suggested the extensions after determining that the combined contracts, which totaled $75,000, might be handled more efficiently by having the work done in-house.
“Reviewing these contracts has been a real education for me,” Finch said, referring to bids submitted by nine companies. The contracts are for maintaining and cleaning parks, beaches and the RADR sports complex, as well as a number of mowing contracts for roadsides, cemeteries and the transfer station.
Finch noted that some of the jobs have been done by the same people year after year, some had never been put out to bid before, and some people have actually taken on more than what the contract specifies.
“I think there’s an opportunity here to fill a lot of needs on a yearlong basis,” Finch said. “If we decide not to do something internally, we need to make sure we put a better bid package together,” he added.
Selectman Matthew Frank agreed with Finch.
“You were right to analyze it,” Frank said. “Is everyone willing to extend for a year?”
Finch said yes, adding that one of the things he learned from one contractor is the town has no right of way to some of the 17 cemeteries. Kyle Chute from Finishing Touch Landscaping, who attended the meeting, said he was given a map of the cemeteries when he was first awarded the contract, but after several years, he still hasn’t been able to locate them all.
Selectman Richard St. John agreed the town should take a more long-term approach.
“I don’t believe we can get all of this work done by one person, but when I saw the numbers, I thought we should look at this,” he said. “Let’s give it another year and really look at it.”
The vote to extend the contracts was unanimous.
Colin Holme from the Lakes Environmental Association gave selectmen a presentation on a recently completed survey of the Crooked River, which supplies about 40 percent of Sebago Lake’s water. More than 200,000 people in the greater Portland area get their water from Sebago Lake.
Results of the survey will be posted on the association’s website, Holme said.