The town of Farmingdale sent a letter earlier this month to its road plowing contractor asking for additional information about material purchases, but the contractor denies receiving the letter and says he’s met all of the town’s requirements.
Ellis Construction submitted four copies of receipts for calcium chloride purchases to the town with the dates, invoice numbers and order numbers blacked out. The receipts list the total material purchased — each order was 2,500 gallons — and have the dates delivered written by hand.
The letter, dated May 2, requested the blacked out information because state law requires municipalities to keep accounting records that will satisfy an audit by the state.
The attorney, Mary Denison, of Lake & Denison, confirmed she sent the letter, but Chris Ellis, an owner of the Farmingdale company, said he didn’t get the letter or hear anything about the issue.
Ellis said parts of the receipts were blacked out because the contract only requires the load slips to show the amount bought.
“We’ve turned over everything to them that we’re supposed to,” he said Tuesday.
Calcium chloride is used to wet the salt before it’s put on the road, and the contract requires a 2,500-gallon tank to be filled at the start of the season and maintained with adequate inventory.
The chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Doug Ebert, said the town has to be shown the slip comply with state law and see proof of what was bought.
If the town doesn’t hear back from the contractor, Ebert said the town will consult with the town attorney about what further steps to take, but he doesn’t know what those would be.
“We have to take whatever further action we need to,” he said. “We haven’t made that determination yet.”
The town has already paid the contractor the full $162,500 for the first year of the contract, Ebert said.
The town awarded the three-year contract to Ellis Construction, the lowest of two bidders with a $487,500 bid, despite objections from about a dozen residents at the meeting last August who said the process was unfair and complained about the past work of the contractor. McGee Construction, of West Gardiner, bid $576,000 for the three-year contract.
Several of the residents, including family members of a rival contractor that didn’t bid — E.C. Barry and Son Construction — regularly attended select board meetings this winter to complain about issues ranging from equipment requirements to the contractor being paid to do extra work requested by the town and state.
One of those residents, Gary Choate, a former road commissioner, said at the May 7 board meeting that the person in charge of the municipal division of the company providing the calcium chloride told Choate that the company only made one delivery to Ellis Construction this winter.
The person in charge of the division for Paris Farmers Union, Bruce Beecher, wouldn’t comment and hung up on the Kennebec Journal when asked if he spoke with any residents from the town of Farmingdale.
Ebert said the town hasn’t reached out to the company. “I wanted to give the contractor an opportunity to get the slips to the attorney,” he said.
But Ellis said he thought the town had approved of what he had submitted.
“I don’t know anything about receiving anything else,” Ellis said. “Besides, as far as I know, winter’s over.”