WOODSTOCK – The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted Tuesday evening to pay for half of a $22,525 bill for paving it didn’t authorize.
The town hired Bruce A. Manzer Inc. of Anson to pave 3,240 feet of Lakeside Drive, from Route 26 to the entrance of the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center, during the summer. Manzer’s estimate was $78,788.
Town Manager Vern Maxfield said officials cut the cost to $40,000 by shortening the project to go from the railroad tracks to the camp entrance.
He said Manzer paved between 600 and 700 feet past the entrance and charged $62,525.
Afterward, Manzer said he thought the paving was supposed to go to the end of the paved part of the road, not the camp entrance, and because the town had not budgeted for the additional $22,525, it could defer payment until 2015.
Maxfield said Tuesday evening that town lawyer Lee Bragg asked Manzer “if he would be content with splitting the cost of the overage 50/50.”
“Bruce said that he could live with that,” Maxfield said. “That’s as far as Lee got with him.”
Selectman Stephen Bies asked Maxfield what the town would have to pay if they split the cost 50/50.
Maxfield said it would be around $11,300.
“Lee never got to ask Bruce is he would be willing to accept 50 percent of the payment now, and 50 percent of the payment in the spring, but he is willing to accept half of the cost,” Maxfield said.
Later in the meeting, Maxfield said he could also obtain proof that there are “five or six other towns in the same boat as Woodstock” after working with Manzer.
Selectman Ron Deegan said, “We need to ask ourselves if we would even want to move forward with any sort of legal action. There’s always the chance that we wouldn’t win, and if that were the case, we’d be on the hook for lawyer expenses, on top of the overage.”
“We really need to figure out how confident we are that we could win the case,” Deegan said. “For me, and this is just my opinion, we always wanted to pave that part of the road. If we would have bid out that section of the road, it would’ve cost more than the $11,300 that we’d pay by splitting the overage. I say that we pay for our half of the overage and move on from this.”
Bies made a motion to pay $11,300 to Manzer by the first week of January.
The board unanimously voted in approval.
“I think it’s a wise decision,” Chairman Victor Young said.