Bristol has only one bid to plow its roads for the next three or five years, and the annual amount is 50% higher than what it pays now.
Hagar Enterprises Inc., of Damariscotta, submitted the sole bid. O.W. Holmes Inc., of Bristol, the town’s plowing contractor for the last nine winters, did not bid.
The Bristol Board of Selectmen opened the bid Wednesday, April 29. Vaughan Stevens, of Hagar Enterprises Inc., and Rusty Holmes, of O.W. Holmes Inc., were present.
If the selectmen accept the bid for a three-year contract, the cost would range from $479,814 the first year, or $7,580 per mile, to $509,058.60 the third year, or $8,042 per mile. If they approve a five-year contract, the cost would range from $479,814 the first year to $519,376.50 the fifth year.
The selectmen voted to table the bid until their next meeting, Wednesday, May 6.
Bristol is paying $317,835 for plowing for the 2019-2020 season, plus $17,000 for salt.
Rusty Holmes said in a phone interview that he has plowed for 38 years and is ready to move on from the work. He said he doesn’t mind the plowing itself, but dislikes the pre- and post-storm work.
Sale of Round Pond house
The selectmen accepted a $96,100 bid from Jason George Masters to buy a property at 1403 State Route 32 in Round Pond. The town had foreclosed on the property, which includes a house, for nonpayment of taxes.
Masters submitted the highest of 10 bids. The lowest bid was $10,200.
The late Barbara Wilson was the previous owner of the house. Wilson died Feb. 17. She had been living at Round Pond Green, an assisted-living facility across Route 32 from her old house.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has contacted the town about proceeds from the sale of the home, according to Town Administrator Chris Hall. DHHS may pursue a claim against the proceeds as reimbursement for state-funded care.
Hall said the first $10,000 from the sale would cover the back taxes and Bristol’s costs associated with the foreclosure and sale. He was going to arrange for a closing at the selectmen’s meeting Wednesday, May 6.
Reopening of town office
Bristol tentatively plans to reopen town hall June 1, with Plexiglass barriers at the service counters. The town plans to limit the number of people who can be in the building at one time. Gloves and masks for staff and a mask requirement for the public are being considered.
Worthy Poor Fund
Hall said donations to Bristol’s Worthy Poor Fund have exceeded $20,000. Donors want the town to use the money quickly to help residents in need.
Town officials are considering using the funds to help residents who do not qualify for general assistance, the state- and town-funded program that pays for basic necessities.
The town administers general assistance, but the state reimburses 70% of the cost. The town will use this option wherever possible and use donations only where a case does not qualify.
New Harbor Food Pantry board member Kevin Adams said the pantry is serving 25-30 families, about 77-80 people, each month. The pantry has 12 new families since January.
The pantry serves Bristol and South Bristol, including all the villages within those towns. In addition to its regular hours from 9-10 a.m. Saturday, it is now open one evening a month, the second Wednesday from 5-6:30 p.m.
The selectmen discussed the idea of buying $100 gift cards to C.E. Reilly & Son for the food pantry with money from the Worthy Poor Fund. Selectman Paul Yates, who works at Reilly’s, welcomed the idea, provided that the gift cards cannot be used for tobacco or alcohol.
Hall will discuss the possibility further with Reilly’s. “The use of those donations to acquire gift certificates for Reilly’s would be meeting a need, and also it would be doing what the donors are looking for, which is to circulate the money in the community,” he said.
Round Pond parade and Olde Bristol Days
The selectmen discussed some of COVID-19’s effects on summer events and revenue from summer visitors.
The Fourth of July parade in Round Pond is not a town-run event, although the Bristol Fire Department usually provides support to the event. Should it take place this year, Fire Chief Paul Leeman Jr. said, the department will not provide its usual support.
At present, Gov. Janet Mills’ plan to gradually restart the economy would limit gatherings to 50 people on July 4.
Because of the need to make bookings and deposits, the organizers of Olde Bristol Day have agreed to decide on plans for the event no later than Memorial Day. The future of local events to celebrate Maine’s bicentennial is likewise uncertain.
Hall presented a draft job description for a position in the town office to replace Deputy Treasurer Lindsey Currier, whose last day was Friday, May 1.
For now, the town will change the full-time position to a three-day position with no benefits because of revenue concerns related to the coronavirus.
Hall will advertise the position. He hopes to find someone before June 1, when the town office reopens to the public.
Hall hopes the selectmen can set a property tax rate by the second week of May, as tax bills should go out as usual around late May or early June.