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News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, February 23, 2012
Local company gets Moose Island project
Town budget up by $60,044

by Alice Wilkinson

Before the Stonington selectmen’s Wednesday night meeting, February 15, the selectmen interviewed the bidders on the Moose Island Causeway job.

The contract was granted to Skip Eaton, at a cost of $300,301.75. Eaton, who has done work for the town before, was one of four who underwent a grilling from project engineer Andrew McCullough before the selectmen made their decision. Other companies that bid on the project included R.F. Jordan of Ellsworth, Doug Gott from Southwest Harbor and K.J. Dugas from Surry.

McCullough asked all the bidders the same four questions, pertaining to erosion control, working around the tides and the traffic, improvements to the project specifications and equipment logistics.

McCullough and Town Manager Kathleen Billings-Pezaris emphasized the ever-present danger of sinkholes, and all were warned of the danger of moving too far into the lobster pound, where the heavy equipment of McMillan Construction, which had been working on the sanitary district and moving rocks, sat for two tides until it could be pulled out. The event, more than 10 years ago, is still remembered.

Peter Grindle was at the interviews on behalf of Billings Marine, which is located across the Moose Island Causeway.

After all the contractors were gone, the selectmen settled down to make their decision. After weighing many factors, they made a unanimous decision to use Eaton. The fact that he is local is among the factors that led them to him.

The project is expected to begin at the end of March and conclude by the last day of June.

During the balance of the meeting, which followed the interviews, the selectmen discussed various plans for paying for the John Deere backhoe the town is buying from Nortrax in Bangor, which sells and services commercial equipment.

Ultimately the choice was to take a five-year lease, at the end of which the town would own the backhoe, and to start paying in March. The advantage of starting to pay immediately is that the interest on the roughly $75,000 balance (after the trade-in) would drop from 4.3 percent to 3.3 percent.

At the end of the meeting, the selectmen signed the warrant for town meeting, including a municipal budget of $1,338,084, up $60,044 from last year’s total of $1,278,040.