Contractor voices displeasure with bid specs

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A payloader works to clear snow from Center Street in Prospect Feb. 11.-RA ARCHIVE
A payloader works to clear snow from Center Street in Prospect Feb. 11.-RA ARCHIVE

REGION 16 — Changes to Region 16’s snow plowing bid specifications has one local contractor irked.

David Rybinski, a Beacon Falls resident and owner of Emergency Vehicle Concepts, came before the Board of Education Sept. 11 to express his displeasure with the specifications in the bid.

“I was amazed that it was designed to eliminate contracts and contractors such as myself,” Rybinski told the board, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect.

For the past several years the board would award separate contracts to plow snow at schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect. Emergency Vehicle Concepts had the contract to plow in Beacon Falls last year.

The board changed the bid specifications this year and sought one company to do the plowing at all the schools. The board also made other changes, including requirements that the contractor has a minimum of three trucks per town in the district available to plow; the contractor owns all vehicles used to plow; all the vehicles will be manned by employees of the contractors; the contractor can’t hire outside vendors to plow. 

Rybinski argued no company could meet the specifications they way they were written and qualified, legitimate bidders were excluded due to the changes to the bid.

The board received five bids for the contract, which is a two-year agreement with an option for a third year.  

The lowest bidder was Hillview Property Maintenance at a two-year average cost of $47,500. Emergency Vehicle Concepts was the highest bidder at a $137,420 average.

Business Manager Pamela Mangini said Hillview Property Maintenance didn’t meet the specifications.

The second lowest bidder was Custom Grounds LLC in Prospect, which bid a two-year average of $48,125 to plow.

The bid specifications also required the contractor’s equipment be inspected prior to awarding the contract.

David Langdon, supervisor of maintenance and facilities, told the board Custom Grounds has everything needed to meet the specifications.

“They have all the equipment, they have all the insurance, they have all the manpower to suffice the snow plow bid,” he said.

The board unanimously awarded to contract to Custom Grounds.

Superintendent of Schools Tim James said the board was hoping to secure a better price by offering the contract to one contractor.

The $48,125 average is a little more than the snow plow contracts for 2012-13. Last fiscal year the contracts totaled $46,779 for both towns, according to Mangini. An additional $25,650 was spent for snow cleanup, including shoveling the roofs of schools, due to the excessive now fall last winter, she added. Part of the extra costs is expected to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, she said.

The contract awarded last week is less than expected, as $57,000 was budgeted for snow plowing this school year.