The Farmingdale Board of Selectmen plans to meet Wednesday night in executive session with the snow plowing contractor and town attorney to discuss the contentious winter road maintenance contract.

Following an hour-and-a-half public hearing with the town attorney last week and more than an hour of discussion in executive session, the board voted not to pursue legal action against the contractor over the use of liquid calcium chloride.

The select board awarded the three-year snowplowing contract to Farmingdale-based Ellis Construction nearly a year ago for $487,500. Since then, the contract has frequently been criticized at board meetings by several residents.

The board held the public forum at its meeting last week to give residents a chance to ask the town attorney, Mary Denison, about the contract and to voice complaints. The chairman of the board, David Sirois, said before the meeting he didn’t think it was necessary, but the other two board members overruled him. Sirois said Tuesday he didn’t expect the board to take any action following the executive session at 7 p.m. Wednesday , but he didn’t know for sure.

The board also used the meeting last week to speak with Denison, of Lake & Denison, about what the steps, if any, the town could take in response to the contractor appearing to not use all the calcium chloride required.

Chris Ellis, an owner of Ellis Construction, has said the company didn’t use calcium chloride on all material, as the contract requires, because the company was following Maine Department of Transportation recommendations, which the contract also requires.

Sirois said the board voted not to take any legal action because there isn’t any evidence that the town had been hurt financially by the contractor.

That was also the attorney’s assessment of the situation. Denison said last week it didn’t appear the town was financially damaged by the contractor not using the calcium chloride brine on all material spread on the roads.

“How was the town damaged by that? That is what a judge will ask,” she said.

The board has admitted that some parts of the contract — including details of who would be responsible for paying for the sand in the town office sand box and whether the contractor can charge the town for being called back to clear refrozen ice — were poorly written or not specified, opening the door to different interpretations.

The issue of the liquid calcium chloride use arose after a resident, Gary Choate, requested receipts from the town of the contractor’s purchases of the brine used to pre-wet the salt and sand.

Besides one receipt sent to the town by Paris Farmers Union, Ellis Construction submitted four copies of receipts to the town with the dates, invoice numbers and order numbers blacked out. The receipts listed each order as 2,500 gallons and had different dates written by hand.

After being asked by the town attorney to provide load slips, Ellis said those four receipts were just copies of one order for 2,500 gallons and were submitted to show when the contractor moved material from its storage tank to the trucks.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig

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