The town of Pittston will likely put a portion of its snowplowing contracts out to bid again because one of its three plowing contractors resigned last week over the quality of the sand.

The Board of Selectmen split the road plowing contract up into three routes this year to try to save money, but one of the winning bidders, Gregory Lumbert of L & L Services, informed the board Monday that he couldn’t do it anymore because the sand the town purchased didn’t allow him to do the job properly.

Lumbert, of Pittston, informed the board Nov. 3 that the sand was causing problems with the plow truck spreader, said Jane Hubert, chairwoman of the board. The town will likely have to put the contract for Lumbert’s route out to bid again, she said.

Lumbert said the sand wasn’t funneling properly to his plow trucks’ spreaders, forcing his plow drivers to periodically stop to knock the sand down manually. He said he had to back out of the contract because the sand prevented him from doing the job described in the contract. Lumbert already invested $30,000 in a truck to do the route, he said.

“There’s really not much I can do on my part. My concern was liability. If I can’t sand the roads properly, I’m kind of setting myself up for failure and a lot of liability,” Lumbert said.

Lumbert’s contract for 13.5 miles in the town’s east side was worth $51,110 for each of the two years, Hubert said. The town hadn’t paid him yet because payment to the contractors isn’t due until December, she said.

The board will discuss putting the contract out to bid again at its meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday. If any snowstorms hit before the town can find a new contractor, the road commissioner will either do the plowing himself or assign the other two plowing contractors to do the work, Hubert said.

She said the two remaining contractors, Goodall Landscaping in Topsham and Jeffrey Ricker, of Pittston, didn’t previously report having problems with the sand, but one did confirm having a similar issue after the board asked last week.

It’s the first year the town has split the contract into three parts, Hubert said. The board split the contract because it tried saving money by not requiring performance bonds for the three contracts, she said. Performance bonds are often required to ensure contractors complete projects satisfactorily.

The town was expected to save around $26,000 from the roughly $162,000 it paid last year to McGee Construction in West Gardiner and Frank Monroe Construction in Whitefield, Hubert said.

“The plowers all seemed to understand it’s a new process, and we all wanted it to work. That’s why we’re kind of concerned, surprised that Mr. Lumbert ended the contract after only one storm,” Hubert said.

She said it will cost the town to put the contract out to bid again, but the total cost hasn’t been discussed yet.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig


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