Casco kitchen goes to community

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

CASCO – After failing to receive a single bid on a project to finish the community kitchen, Casco’s town manager has double-checked his next step.

A municipality can ask local contractors to come to the table with their bids.

When the town drafted the Requests for Proposals (RFP), it designed the paperwork so contractors could bid only for plumbing or cabinetry, or businesses could bid on the entire job, according to Morton.

“We received no bids,” he said during the Casco Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday.

So, he contacted a Cumberland County Community Development Block Grant coordinator to ask if it would be permissible for the town to “go out into the community” with the project.

“The answer was, ‘Yes.’ But, we need to be able to test that the prices are fair and reasonable,” Morton said.

With a 5-0 vote, the board gave him the shout-out to solicit bid prices from some local contractors in town.

“Then, I’ll approach several local contractors, and see if we can’t get proposals from them, and move ahead” with the community kitchen plan, he said.

Also, during Tuesday’s meeting, the board lined up a check-list in order to arrive at a solution regarding the future of the Casco Memorial School.

During the month of August, an open house will be scheduled so selectmen can tour the building.

“We’ve opened the windows so it could air out for a couple days. The air is stale,” he said.

“We will open it for a few days to let people look inside the school. We will have it open on a weekend as well, so board members could go there at their leisure,” he said.

Besides holding an open house, an engineer will be hired to look at the structure and make recommendations to the board.
“When I was out at the Point Sebago Road project, he (the engineer) came up with three or four ideas we hadn’t thought about,” Morton said.

“The board can have the engineers look at the Memorial School again, and talk about how to approach it,” he said, adding an engineer’s presentation is a good way to weigh the pros and cons.

An engineer can guide the selectmen into figuring out what is best for the town’s needs, he said.

Selectman Tracy Kimball asked Morton if he could “work on a generalized bulletin to help board members to ask the right questions.”

In addition, Efficiency Maine will be contacted about conducting an energy audit on the Memorial School building.

In related business, Kimball suggested the town secure another tarp for the roof – just in case rainy weather hits.

Morton agreed with Kimball, “We spent about $800. I’d like to buy another tarp.”

The board voted, 5-0, to contact the individual who covered the roof this winter, and have a replacement tarp put over the roof – after the open house tours occur, and before the bid process is completed.

In other business:

In its flurry of votes following the workshop, the board relieved one community member from an impossible task. Grant Plummer was elected by the voters to a seat on the Open Space Commission. But, Plummer was serving on the commission already – as a board-appointed member. By vote, the board accepted Plummer’s resignation from the appointment. Also, the town will advertise the vacancy. The board likely will address the open seat at its next meeting on Aug. 24.

In two separate votes, the selectmen addressed an annual autumn event: The first vote was to accept the Mass Gathering Permit for Brewfest, and the second vote was to approve a temporary liquor license for the event, which is scheduled for Sept. 24. “This event is staged at Point Sebago. It’s been staged there for several years,” Morton said.

The town postponed a question-and-answer session on property valuations. The meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m. An assessor will be taking questions from the public, and explaining how property valuations are done. “Last year, we had about 25 to 30 people attend. We thought it would be good to re-do that this year. It’s a good opportunity for discussions. It will be about 1 ½ hours long – unless there are a lot of good questions,” Morton said. Selectman Mary-Vienessa Fernandes suggested advertising the Assessment Q&A on the fire department’s marquee, which is visible from Route 121.

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