Board opts for status quo in planting bid

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

It was a case of “Be careful what you wish for,” when Bridgton Selectmen decided to go out to bid for care of the downtown plantings and gardens.

When the bids came back, the board was left with a dilemma: Lucia Terry, whose company, Perennial Point of View, has done the job for 27 years, came in with a higher bid than that of the second bidder, Mark Cartonio of Mark’s Lawn and Garden in Naples. Terry bid $21,000 a year, while Cartonio’s bid was $18,500. Both businesses are in Bridgton.

“No one likes a change, but the town is fortunate to have two qualified bidders who are very reputable and credible,” said Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz. He said Terry helped the town document all the town-maintained gardens and plantings so he could put together the bid specifications, and that he met with Cartonio after his bid came in to clarify supplemental figures given in his bid.

He said Cartonio gave estimates of what he would charge if a garden space were redesigned, and that “everything he’s bidding on is all-inclusive.” Berkowitz added, however, that “the fine print is an important part of this” in terms of itemizing costs for maintenance and rotation, planters and boxes.

“Would Lucia do the same?” asked Selectman Bernie King. From the audience, Terry replied, “Well, 27 years is not forever, but that’s always been the way that it’s been done.”

Berkowitz recommended the customary route of taking the lower bid. But the board appeared loath to dismiss the longevity factor of Terry’s service to the town.

“Twenty-seven years Lucia’s put into developing the (planters and boxes),” said Selectman Bob McHatton. “I was against this project going out to bid. I don’t like the situation now that I’m in.”

Board member Ken Murphy agreed, saying “I feel the same way.” Chairman Doug Taft then said, “We don’t have to go with the manager’s recommendation,” and the board voted unanimously to accept Terry’s bid.

“Be careful what you wish for,” quipped Berkowitz.

Berkowitz said Public Works Director Jim Kidder will evaluate the results of the contract as specified in the new operations and maintenance manual developed for the bidding process.

 

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