Boards to question Pleasant Lake-Parker Pond dam low bidder

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Next question, please.

The joint boards of the Casco and Otisfield selectmen will hold a question-and-answer session with T-Buck Construction, the lowest bidder for the replacement of the Pleasant Lake-Parker Pond dam. That is according to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton, who provided an update of the long dam saga during the Casco Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday.

T-Buck Construction, owned by Terry Buck, is based in Auburn and has other offices in Maine. His bid price was about $422,000.

The interview will be conducted on Tuesday, May 31, 7 p.m. at the Casco Community Center. Staff members are arranging for Lake Region Television (LRTV) to videotape the special meeting.

Last week, the town received three bids for the replacement of the failing dam.

The other bidders were CMP Constructors and Sumco Eco Contracting, according to the Casco town office. Eleven companies purchased a bid package; and three bids were submitted by the deadline.

The dam is located next to the former Hancock Lumber Office off Route 121, also known as Meadow Road. From the dam, Pleasant Lake can be seen.

On Monday, the Otisfield and Casco boards of selectmen reviewed the bids for the proposed construction project.

“T-Buck Construction was the low bidder, and determined to be a qualified bidder. Members agreed they would like to sit down and interview T-Buck Construction,” Morton said. “There are 10 or 11 questions they would like to ask.”

Like the water flowing downstream, the town does not have much choice in the matter of replacing the dam.

The towns’ hands are being forced with this infrastructure project because the dam is not holding back water and because the state has mandated seasonal water levels. It is the shared responsibility of the towns of Casco and Otisfield to maintain those state-set water levels.

At this point, nothing is set in stone, or concrete, which is the material of choice for the infrastructure.

“Awarding the contract is contingent on approval of money at Town Meeting. So, people need not be concerned that” a decision has been made without community input, Morton said.

It is important that people understand that even though a low bidder has been chosen and will be interviewed, the funding for the dam construction hinges on the outcome at the Town Meeting, Morton said. That was even stated in the bid paperwork.

Last year at the Town Meeting, voters approved the funding for the engineering studies and the development of the bid package.

This year, Casco voters will be considering a $250,000 bond to replace the dam. Or, the cost of the dam will be included in a larger bond for road repair — if that is passed.

Morton said that the two boards of selectmen and the president of the Pleasant Lake-Parker Pond Lake Association (PLPPLA) have been involved with the multiple phases of this project for several years.

“The contractor will meet next Tuesday (May 31) at 7 p.m. Anyone is welcome to sit in and listen to process,” Morton said.

“The board will be expected to make an award that evening because of the timing of Otisfield’s Town Meeting,” he said.

Otisfield has a public hearing on the proposed budget slated for June 7 at the Otisfield Community Hall, and its Town Meeting falls on Saturday, June 25.

Selectman Tom Peaslee asked if Morton could foresee any problems about getting everything done for Otisfield’s timeline.

Morton answered, “I don’t know.”

“Last evening, the group developed a list of talking points, and additional information to see from contractor. I e-mailed the contractor this morning. I e-mailed (The Maine Department of) Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Everyone is in the loop,” he said. “I don’t foresee any road blocks.”

“Will Town Meeting have the appetite to spend the money? Taxpayers don’t like to spend money but this was forced on us,” he said.

In order to complete the dam project properly, there will also be engineering costs and construction review costs — along with the expense of the construction bid, which has not been awarded yet.

“The total package will be more than $500,000 to be split between towns of Casco and Otisfield,” Morton said.

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