NEW GLOUCESTER – Selectmen voted 4-1 this week to send out bid specifications for a new snow plow and wing, and dump body and sand spreader. Chairman Steve Libby was opposed.

Two weeks ago, selectmen put off approving the bid specifications submitted by Public Works Director Willard Waterman because the documents favored buying a model manufactured by Frink and eliminated competition from other manufacturers.

Town Manager Rosemary Kulow was then instructed to get additional information from other towns and reformulate the specification so other manufacturers could bid. Kulow said she then shared the information with Waterman.

“Based on his years of experience (27 years) with equipment, however, the DPW (director) continues to believe that the specs he presented ask for what the town needs – reliable equipment that will do the best job for the longest time,” Kulow said. “I support his recommendation because I respect and rely on his knowledge and experience with public works equipment and operations.”

Libby countered that “26 towns have (Tenco equipment) and use it. I’m looking at six new units in the next 10 years.”

He reminded the board that Tenco’s bid last year was 22 percent lower than Frink’s but failed to meet bid specifications.

Waterman told the board the Highway Department now has six Frink truck bodies and snowplows, and parts used year-round for additional tasks.

“I don’t want to downgrade,” Waterman said.

Selectman Stephanie Bryan said she could not send out a bid that was not competitive.

“A monopoly drives the price up,” she said. “I think the taxpayers get raped. I feel it’s important to keep things fiscally balanced and be conservative.”

Bryan voted in favor of sending the bid specifications if a comparable piece of equipment would be considered.

Kulow said the board will still rely on the public works director’s advice and opinion when bids are opened.

In other business, the board voted 4-1 to sign the county tax assessment of $191,417. Libby opposed signing.

The Town Hall will be closed Tuesday, Aug. 24, to allow the installation and staff training on a new computer software program. However, efforts will be made for the public to access the code enforcement officer, town planner and assessor.

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