SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Repairs to the ramp at the Manset Town Dock are on hold while selectmen consider asking for additional bids.
The three board members in attendance Tuesday agreed to wait instead of approving the sole bid for the project. That bid from John W. Goodwin Jr. construction came in at nearly $10,000 more than the $22,000 estimate.
Goodwin’s bid includes subcontracting with Norwood Delaittre and Sons Inc. of Bar Harbor for $29,905 in concrete work. The remaining $2,000 is for preparation work Goodwin is to do at the site.
Goodwin is offering to furnish and install rip rap needed for the project at no cost to the town, an offer extended because of the company’s use of the ramp by its barge, according to Town Manager Don Lagrange. Lagrange estimates this is a savings of between $4,000 and $6,000.
The cost of the concrete work led selectmen to ask about the bid process. Harbormaster Adam Thurston said he received no reply from a company in Franklin, and a Southwest Harbor business he contacted was no longer doing that type of work.
“There was nobody else interested in the concrete work,” Thurston said, adding that he then told Goodwin to get a bid from their subcontractors.
Selectmen Tom Benson and Chad Terry questioned the process, saying that it was their understanding that in-town businesses should be at the top of the list when soliciting bids.
“I thought we were going to try to use our in-town businesses or at least ask them,” Benson said.
Terry agreed that other bids should have been solicited.
“I’m for getting prices from other contractors, and I’m going to vote against this tonight,” he said.
There was no vote. The consensus was to discuss the matter further at a future meeting.
Two members of the Southwest Harbor Historical Society attended the meeting to give their support to a plan for a building to house the society’s collection at Goog’s Pond. The pond property, west of the town office, is owned by Southwest Harbor. Lagrange proposed the building at a selectmen’s meeting last month.
The society’s president, Karen Craig, applauded the idea.
“We are extremely interested,” she told selectmen.
The society now has a museum in the Southwest Harbor-Tremont Chamber of Commerce office, which is in the Harbor House Old Yellow Schoolhouse building on Main Street. According to the society’s website, the display is open from mid-May through mid-October during the same hours as the chamber office.
Lagrange encouraged society members to begin looking for funds to cover construction costs.
“If you have a way to raise funds or have a plan to raise funds, I can look into it further,” he said.
In response to Craig, Lagrange said he had no idea at this time how much the project would cost. One idea, he continued, is to use the former public bathroom building, which was moved when new bathrooms were built on Village Green Way.
Craig had one request. The building should be heated during the winter even if it is used only during warm weather.
“The condensation raises havoc with some of this stuff,” she said.