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County Commissioners give building improvement projects the OK

HOULTON, Maine — Two Aroostook County building improvement projects will move ahead, despite over-budget bids on both. Before voting to accept the lowest bids, county commissioners discussed several funding options to assure project completion during a Wednesday afternoon meeting in Houlton.   

The two projects — repaving the Caribou Courthouse and EMA building parking area and replacing the School Street entryway steps at the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office building in Houlton — came in at nearly $60,000 over budget, combined.

There were three bids to replace the entryway steps, with the low bidder, Building Etcetera Inc., Houlton, coming in at $19,952: $8,700 over budget. 

Nonetheless, Bryan Jandreau, facilities and IT director, recommended commissioners approve the bid, suggesting the country draw upon the building’s capital fund balance for the entryway improvement. 

The project includes removing the existing steps and railings and building new steps that match the Military Street entrance. 

Building Etcetera Inc. was awarded the contract as the lowest bidder. And Jandreau said that the contractor has completed other similar large-scale projects for the county. 

Other bids came from The Allen Company, Presque Isle, at $25,500 and Maine Highlands Contracting, Beaver Cove, at $49,900. 

The Caribou Courthouse and EMA Building parking lot repaving project had four bidders, with the lowest coming in from Northeast Paving Co., Bangor, at $123,700: $48,000 over budget. 

Jandreau stressed the importance of the project because the driveway is deteriorating, and he offered several funding options to cover the deficit. 

“We have an offer from the Unorganized Territories for $24,000,” Jandreau said, adding that the Unorganized Territories offices are in the building. 

Suggested options included using the monies from the Unorganized Territories and $24,000 from the contingency fund; using the Unorganized Territories $24,000 and taking $24,000 from the $60,937 Cupola Renovation Fund and replace the funds over the next two years; use the Unorganized Territories $24,000 and allocate $24,000 of American Rescue Plan Funds; or allocate $48,000 from the American Rescue Plan Funds.

The commissioners discussed multiple options to assure the project could move ahead, settling on $24,000 from Unorganized Territories; $12,000 from the Cupola Renovation Fund and $12,000 from the Contingency Fund. 

The repaving project includes removing and replacing damaged curb sections, butt joints, gravel work at the EMA building and paving the parking lot. 

Northeast Paving Co. was awarded the contract for the project.

Other bidders were, Caron Paving & Sealing Co., Fort Kent, at $149,850, NJT Paving, Caribou, at $225,000, and Trombley Industries, Limestone, at $145,175.

In other business the commissioners approved an ambulance and fire protection agreement for Cray Township with the town of Houlton; approved a solid waste agreement for Benedicta and Silver Ridge Townships at a 10 percent increase with the town of Sherman; and discussed proposed winter road closures for The County.

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