The Damariscotta Board of Selectmen is recommending the award of an $859,834.50 contract to Hagar Enterprises Inc., of Damariscotta, for sidewalk construction on Bristol Road.
On Wednesday, June 5, the selectmen voted 4-0 to authorize Town Manager Matt Lutkus to submit a letter to the Maine Department of Transportation recommending the award. Selectman Mark Hagar, whose family owns Hagar Enterprises, abstained from the vote.
The sidewalk would run along the east side of Bristol Road from just south of Damariscotta Baptist Church to LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus. The project would also include a storm drainage system and other improvements.
The bid from Hagar Enterprises was the only bid the town received by the June 4 deadline.
Hagar Enterprises’ bid included an option to install granite curbing on the sidewalk for an additional $51,582.
Lutkus said in a telephone conversation June 11 that since the total project cost now exceeds DOT’s original budget number of $1,173,841.23, DOT has agreed to pay for 80% of the current total only if it does not include the granite curbing option.
If the town decides to sign off on the option for granite curbing, the DOT would only contribute 80% of its original total budget for the entire Bristol Road sidewalk project, $939,073.
Either way, the town still has to raise additional funds for the local match. If the town does not go with granite curbing, it would still need to raise an additional $13,768.25.
If the town opts for granite curbing, it would have to raise an additional $96,342.52 because of the added cost of granite curbing and the resulting decrease in DOT funds.
Lutkus said at the June 5 meeting that the town does not have the additional funds available because of the growing project cost over the years.
“We first started this process quite a few years ago now, 2012, 2013, and we had to anticipate what our local match was. We were estimating just under $100,000,” Lutkus said.
The estimate grew over the years. “We’ve had to come up with $221,000 and there’s no more money to tap into the reserves for (granite curbing),” Lutkus said at the meeting.
Selectman Hagar expressed concerns about long-term maintenance costs associated with a lack of granite curbing.
“When you plow the Bristol Road, that curb is going to take a pounding,” Hagar said at the meeting.
Lutkus and the other selectmen agreed that granite would be a better long-term choice and fit in better with all the other granite curbs in town. They discussed ways to come up with the extra funds.
The selectmen then voted to direct Lutkus to look into setting up a special town meeting to ask for the funds. Selectman Hagar abstained.