NAUGATUCK — A dilapidated detached garage on Aetna Street will soon be coming down.
The garage is located in the rear of the property at 122 Aetna St. and abuts Edward Street. The building was deemed such a risk by the borough that Edward Street has been closed to traffic due to the fear of the garage collapsing into the street.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved a contract with Ocean Trace Development Corporation of Watertown last week to demolish the garage for $12,100.
The approval comes a month after the board approved a bid from the company to do the work for $8,600 last month.
However, after the contract was awarded and the company began to look at the scope of the work, it felt that the borough had not fully explained the extent of the work that was to be completed.
The company explained that, because the building contained asbestos, it would cost extra to hire an environmental specialist to take an air sampling and to apply for and obtain an alternative work package, which allows them to demolish and remove a building containing hazardous materials, Public Works Director Jim Stewart told the board.
“Apparently most communities take care of that portion themselves,” Stewart said.
Stewart said he the other top bidder didn’t include an environmental specialist and the alternative work package in its bid.
“At that point, instead of talking to the third bidder I talked to attorney (Ned) Fitzpatrick and we decided the best thing to do would be to clarify the RFP and go back out. So that’s what we did,” Stewart said.
When the bids came back in for the new RFP, Ocean Trace was once again the lowest bidder. The price included both the environmental specialist and the work package allowing the destruction of the building.
“I am thrilled to see that we can get this job completed for $12,100,” Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi said. However, she was concerned that the next lowest bid was approximately twice what Ocean Trace was bidding. After Ocean Trace, the next two lowest bids were $22,900 and $24,970.
“I’m all about doing it for the least amount of money, but this still raises tremendous red flags for me,” Rossi said. “I have extremely serious concerns that this is going to end up costing us three times the $12,000.”
Rossi said that demolition was not her area of expertise, but felt the need to raise the question due to the price discrepancies.
Fitzpatrick explained the only difference between the Ocean Trace’s last bid and this one was the environmental remediation.
“I feel comfortable, and Jim feels comfortable, that this is what it will take to remove this house and do the job completely. The borough has the advantage that we don’t pay until it gets done,” Fitzpatrick said. “He has all the appropriate insurances and he has to finish the job, or we don’t pay him. It’s not like we’re putting 50 percent down.”
The borough has placed a lien on the property for the costs of tearing down the garage.