FARMINGDALE — After snared funding, low bids and criticism from residents, a contractor will now begin work on a new fire station.

The selectboard voted 2-0, with Selectman Jim Grant absent, to award the project to Augusta-based contractors Peachey Builders based on their $1,349,176 proposal.

Engineers from A.E. Hodsdon recommended going with Peachey Builders after reviewing their bid. Grant sent a note to Town Clerk Rose Webster to express his support for the recommendation.

Selectman Wayne Kilgore said the contractors came highly regarded from people he spoke to that have had work done through the company.

“It was a pretty good price,” he said. “Everybody I talked to gave rave reviews.”

Selectwoman Nancy Frost said the selectboard should be judicious in enforcing the price tag and be weary of extra charges for the project.

A meeting with the selectboard, fire department officials, engineers and contractors will be scheduled to go over initial plans, according to Kilgore.

Selectmen opened up nine bids from Maine-based contractors on Feb. 27 to build a station on Maine Avenue, all under the $1.7 million budget approved by residents in December 2018.

In 2017, voters approved up to $1 million in funding for a new station next to Gosline’s Hardware on Maine Avenue. That funding was never secured because it was insufficient to cover the cost of bids received in September 2018. Those bids — all of which were rejected in October 2018 — ranged from $1,543,000 to $1,776,651. Selectman and engineers said skyrocketing material prices were to blame for the high bids.

Residents thought the plans were too expensive in December 2018. In response to their complaints, selectmen approved minor changes to the project, which will save $43,650 in construction and engineering costs.

New financing for the building was finalized in January when selectmen accepted Kennebec Savings Bank’s loan offer based on a 4.29 percent interest rate. The town was looking to secure funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the government shutdown complicated the process. The town could make annual payments of $126,759.48 or pay it down monthly to reduce total interest. Projections by town staff showed $835,189.60 in accrued interest over the 20-year term.

The current station at 289 Maine Ave. is cramped — with the trucks having less than a foot of clearance between mirrors. The new fire station site, just north of Gosline’s Hardware on Maine Avenue, has been clear since May 2018. The plan is to build a three-bay, 80-foot-by-80-foot station.

 

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666
[email protected]
Twitter: @SamShepME

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