RUMFORD — By a 3-1 vote Thursday night, selectmen OK'd spending $144,439 to buy a 2012 front-end bucket loader with a trade-in of the 1997 Public Works loader.
Later in the meeting, the board voted 4-0 to convene a workshop at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, to better understand how the town's bidding process works. Selectman Jeremy Volkernick was absent.
Town Manager Carlo Puiia said bids were sought from five heavy equipment dealers for a loader to replace the 1997 Caterpillar 938F front-end loader. It is one of three in the Public Works fleet.
Puiia said that replacing it was in the department's capital plan, which was already reviewed and approved.
According to the bid sheet by Public Works Superintendent Andy Russell, the dealer was to consider taking Rumford's 1997 loader in trade when placing a bid.
Of the five dealers, only four responded with bids: Nortrax of Westbrook offered a John Deere 624 for $150,900; Frank Martin & Sons Inc. of Madison offered a Kawasaki 70ZV for $154,000 and a Kawasaki 80Z7 for $208,000; Southworth-Milton of Scarborough offered a Caterpillar 938K for $144,439; and Chadwick-BaRoss of Westbrook offered a Volvo L90G for $159,500.
The recommendation was to accept Southworth-Milton's bid, Puiia said.
Chairman Greg Buccina and Selectman Brad Adley had questions about the need for a 2012 loader.
Buccina said he would not support the purchase and wanted it tabled until Superintendent Russell could attend the next board meeting and answer his questions.
Adley asked Puiia if it was feasible to lease a loader. Puiia said he didn't think so due to the amount of daily use.
Selectmen Adley, Jolene Lovejoy and Jeff Sterling voted for Southworth-Milton's bid and Buccina dissented.
Later, Buccina said he wanted the board to convene a workshop on the bid process to discuss how bids are presented, how the process works, how it could be enhanced and the feasibility of working with Mexico for joint purchases.
He said he hoped to learn how to minimize costs when bids are unsealed.
"Are we doing the best we can with it?" Buccina asked.
Lovejoy motioned to hold the workshop at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, an hour prior to the board's regular meeting. Selectmen also told Puiia they wanted department heads to attend the meeting.
In other business, Kevin Saisi of the Comprehensive Plan Committee updated the board on its progress to date.
As of December, he said the committee will have worked on the plan for a year with guidance from planner John Maloney of the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments in Auburn.
Saisi said their terms are to expire on Dec. 15 and sought reappointments from selectmen to finish the work.
Additionally, because of the committee's efforts to update the comprehensive plan, Saisi said committee members want the town to use more diligence to accomplish the plan's goals than was done with the previous plan.
"Their concern is that the plan not gather dust," Saisi said.
He asked the board to consider reappointing the committee's 10 members, who meet once a month, excepting the past few months when he said they either didn't have a quorum or encountered a locked door at the municipal building.
Puiia said the reappointment matter is already on the board's Nov. 15 agenda.
Lovejoy, however, sought to learn what the committee had accomplished in 11 months and when they'd complete the plan, before considering reappointments.
Lovejoy and Buccina said they want the plan to go before town meeting voters in June.
"We just need to create some urgency," Buccina said.
When pressed by a resident to answer Lovejoy's initial question, Saisi said that without consulting Maloney, he believed they are more than halfway through the work. Then he estimated it at 70 percent or more.