The Farmingdale Board of Selectmen is holding a public hearing Wednesday night with the town’s attorney to give residents a chance to voice concerns about the plowing contract.

The three-year contract has been frequently criticized at select board meetings by a handful of residents who objected to the board awarding the contract to Farmingdale-based Ellis Construction nearly a year ago. Complaints have ranged from a rival plowing contractor accusing Ellis Construction of not meeting equipment requirements to some residents saying the select board shouldn’t have allowed the contractor to bill the town for extra work.

The select board is holding the meeting with the attorney at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the town office.

The latest issue involved whether the contractor used enough liquid calcium chloride during the winter.

Some residents accused Ellis Construction of fraud because material receipts submitted to the town had blacked-out sections and handwritten notes showing amounts of calcium chloride and dates. However, Chris Ellis, an owner of the company, said those slips were just showing when materials were moved from a storage tank to trucks.

The town’s attorney, Mary Denison of Lake & Denison, approved those slips, but the chairman of the select board said the selectmen still need to decide whether to take any action if the contractor didn’t use enough of the liquid brine last winter.

Ellis said his drivers didn’t use the calcium chloride based on advice from Maine Department of Transportation’s Maine Local Roads Center. The state doesn’t recommend using it on lower-speed or back roads.

David Sirois, chairman of the board, said he doesn’t think any more clarification on the issue is necessary, but the other two members of the board overruled him.

He said he hopes residents will attend the meeting Wednesday night to find out what’s going on and to offer guidance to the select board on what it should do.

“There are residents with very specific questions that they want to ask the town attorney, and this is all in the issue of transparency,” Sirois said. “We want to be all above board with all of the decisions we make and be forthright and honest about everything.”

Selectman James Grant said he wants town residents to see the board is listening and understands what they’re saying. He expects the board to discuss the complaints with the town attorney and identify whether they are legitimate complaints. Grant said the board will then consult with the attorney in executive session to ask whether any action should be taken.

“With all the complaints we have from our citizens this winter, we need to fully vet this issue before we can move forward as a town and a community,” Grant said.

He also said he’s heard a rumor that Ellis Construction would be withdrawing from the plowing contract before next winter. But Ellis said that’s not the case.

Even though Ellis was invited, he said he won’t be going to the meeting Wednesday because he’s already discussed these issues with the board and town attorney.

“All these things were signed off on,” Ellis said.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig

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