NEW ASHFORD -- The town's roads will be plowed by a resident's company following Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting.
But the decision was not made without some controversy among residents.
"This comes down to us standing by a decision we made on October 7," Selectman Ken McInerney said Monday.
Selectmen previously awarded the snow plowing contract to KLC Construction Corp., which submitted a bid of $60,000, at their meeting on Oct. 7. The company is owned by Road Commissioner Keith LaCasse. Some residents questioned Selectmen deciding against choosing the low bid of $57,400 from John's Tractor and Excavation, which held the contract previously. Selectmen cited residents' concerns about the company's performance last winter.
At Monday's meeting, Janet Pumphrey of Kopelman and Paige, who participated via conference call, confirmed that LaCasse can hold both contracts with the town as long as he submits a disclosure statement with the town clerk.
McInerney explained no vote was needed to be taken, as one was taken on Oct. 7 and hinged on town counsel's opinion.
But some residents, and John Goerlach, of John's Tractor and Excavation, took issue with the Selectmen's decision.
"My client was clearly the low bidder, and there's no evidence that he's not qualified to do the work," Attorney Richard Dohoney, representing Goerlach, told Selectmen. "There was no action taken for the prior three years to disbar him from putting another bid in."
"There is no substantive difference between the two bids other than the price," Dohoney continued. "You're weighing not value, but qualification. There's simply not enough evidence. A few anecdotal complaints do not amount to something sufficient to overturn a low bid."
"A few complaints in a small town is a lot," Selectmen Chairman Jason Jayko responded.
School Committee Chairwoman Brenda Frye expressed concern over unsafe conditions for the school bus traversing her road, Beech Hill Road.
"The past three years, it has not been safe going up Beech Hill Road," she said. "I go down that road at 7 a.m. and it's not even plowed sometimes -- not even sanded; the plow isn't even down."
Snow on the road has caused the school bus to become stuck on four occasions, Frye said.
"You want the best you're going to get with the money you're going to pay," Frye said. "Every time you open a bid on something, is this going to happen? ... I think we have to trust the people that we elect."