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Library contract still not finished

By Gabriel Blodgett | May 14, 2019
Photo by: Gabriel Blodgett The future site of the Rockport Library.

Rockport — The town of Rockport and Phi Builders + Architects have yet to formally agree to a contract to build the new library because of concerns over the wording of the document regarding change orders to the project and worries on the part of the company about increased material costs resulting from potential tariffs.

At the May 13 Select Board meeting, board member Debra Hall expressed dismay that the contract written by the town’s legal counsel included wording about potential change orders that appeared to leave room for exceptions that would cause the price of the project to exceed the town’s $3.5 million budget.

The “lawyers have not written the document to reflect the total guaranteed maximum,” she said. “It’s got to be reworked.”

The discussion about the contract came after Town Manager Rick Bates said that Phi was interested in including a provision in the contract to protect itself in the event of increased tariffs on “steel, gypsum, etc.,” resulting from the ongoing trade war with China.

Select Board Chairman Ken McKinley suggested adding “some verbiage to set a limit on what tariff increase constitutes a change,” both in percentage and aggregate amounts.

Selectman Jeffrey Hamilton said he felt the idea of adding multiple contingencies to the contract was “fraught with peril.”

The board met in executive session following the meeting to discuss hiring a new owner’s representative. Bates said the town is in contact with two potential candidates for the role after Phi resigned to become the general contractor.

The separate contract with Phi for the Lily Pond Stream stabilization also has yet to be finalized, but Bates said he hopes it will be done by the end of the week.

The board voted to close Limerock Street and the sidewalk on Russell Avenue in front of the library beginning May 14 to allow work on the property to begin as soon as possible.

Bates said he hopes the contract for the library will be finished shortly and said there may be a special Select Board meeting to approve it if it is completed before the next scheduled meeting May 28.

Other business

The board discussed a possible transfer of land near Grassy Pond from the town to Maine Water Co. The narrow 3.5-acre parcel, which was acquired by the town in 1992 for nonpayment of $42 in taxes, is surrounded on three sides by land owned by Maine Water, which it intends to include in a conservation easement to Coastal Mountains Land Trust to continue the Round the Mountain Trail project. Maine Water President Rick Knowlton said that rather than having both Maine Water and the town spend money on lawyers, engineers and assessors, it would be easier to for all parties to give the land to the company, which would then deed it to the land trust.

The board also decided to move forward with a plan for a new infrastructure bond package. The bond would not exceed $1.5 million and would be used for major road reconstruction and repair. The next step is for the Public Works director to compile a ranking of town roads based on usage and quality to determine which roads would be included and present that to the Capital Improvement Committee. The goal is to have the bond included on the November ballot. Hall said the reconstruction could provide an opportunity to expand fiberoptic cable to more of the town.

There was agreement among board members that the town is not allocating enough money for general road maintenance, and that in the near future there will need to be more money budgeted for Public Works to stay ahead of problems.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | May 14, 2019 15:19

"There was agreement among board members that the town is not allocating enough money for general road maintenance, and that in the near future there will need to be more money budgeted for Public Works to stay ahead of problems." Hmmmm. Sounds familiar. :)

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