SAD 17 contract dispute over wood chips settled


PARIS — School Administrative District 17 has settled a dispute with its wood chip supplier in a deal that slightly raises the cost for heating Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris.

The district has agreed to a new one-year contract with General BioFuel Inc. Superintendent Rick Colpitts told school district directors Monday evening. The deal bumps the per-ton price for wood chips from $55 to $57. 

The school was pursuing a suspected breach of contract with its wood chip broker after the requested delivery of chips on Oct. 7 was never made. Service was scheduled to resume Monday, Colpitts wrote in a memo. 

In February 2011, the district signed a five-year contract with the company where prices would increase from $54 to $56. A biomass boiler at the high school went online later that year.  

After being unable to reach the company for over a week, the school district received an email indicating the company couldn’t source the wood chips as cheaply as they had promised the district.

Later, the company issued a counterclaim that the district was in breach of its contract because it failed to order the amount of chips specified in its bid specifications with the company. 

Colpitts said the deal was a more “palatable” solution than paying $62 per ton to Record Lumber, and cheaper than some neighboring districts.  

“We will rebid the biomass fuel contract in April,” Colpitts said.

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