The Damariscotta Select Board approved snowplow contracts with Hagar Enterprises Inc. through 2026 in the amount of $1,178,826.17 on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
There are two separate contracts, one for maintaining the downtown area and another for the rest of the town’s 21.5 miles of roads. The terms continue the same level of service for both the roads and downtown contracts, only at a higher cost each year. The original contract, signed in 2019, would have ended in 2024. The new contract extends the agreement to 2026.
After voters narrowly approved a $32,500 increase for this year’s plowing services at a special town meeting on Nov. 16, Damariscotta’s public works committee hashed out two revised contracts. The contracts cost more for snowplowing each year, but include fuel escalators and de-escalators that will provide an extra charge to the town if fuel prices rise and provide a rebate if they drop. The base diesel fuel price is $5.90 per gallon.
The cost is also based on how many gallons of fuel are used in Damariscotta.
“They have to show documentation to prove that,” select board member Josh Pinkham said.
The town agrees to pay for 1,000 tons of salt, since Hagar Enterprises purchases a certain amount from its supplier each year.
“We made it so that it’s based on that amount and if there’s extra that needs to be purchased, there is no additional charge or credit back to us. We would do it based on 1,000 tons,” Town Manager Andy Dorr said.
Dorr said by email on Tuesday, Dec. 13 that the town would pay for 1,000 tons of salt for both the downtown and the town roads contracts.
Damariscotta’s Hagar Enterprises Inc., which also provides snowplowing services for Bristol, asked both towns in November to pay more for snowplowing, citing increasing costs of fuel, salt, and labor.
The board also made the contract contingent on Hagar Enterprises repairing damage it caused to the town’s salt shed on Heater Road in winter 2019. Select board member Tom Anderson suggested including this as a stipulation of the contract.
The parts are onsite at the salt shed, ready for the repairs, Dorr said.
Daryl Fraser, chair of the select board, asked if the town will repay the approximately $1,300 held back from Hagar Enterprises from a previous contract once the repairs are made.
“If he wants his money, he’s got to fix it,” Pinkham said.
Pinkham was the only member of the select board to vote against the contracts, saying he continues to oppose any contract with Hagar until the repairs are made.
“As a taxpayer, I voted no at the special town meeting because I felt it was a legal and binding document,” Pinkham said. “They haven’t fixed the damage. When they fix the damage, we’ll move on from there.”
The next meeting of the Damariscotta Select Board will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 21.