Paving price goes up after mileage guestimate

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — An estimate on the number of miles of Naples roads being paved caused the contractor to bid lower than the real costs.

In fact, the estimate was several miles less than what it should have been for what needed to be paved. Plus, some of the roads were in worse condition and required extra pavement to even out the grade.

On Monday, the Naples Board of Selectmen approved the use of existing money in the paving budget to cover the additional cost of the roads that were paved this year.

Prior to this vote, there was some discussion about how the contractor and the town staff discovered the difference between what the bid required and what the roads needed.

“It was a combination of the town not taking into account how bad the roads are,” and guesstimating the mileage of the road, which caused the bidders to bid lower than the actual cost, according to Naples Chairman Jim Grattelo.

Also, some of the required shoulder work had not been included in the road-repair plan.

“I don’t believe it was a bad estimate or we got raked over the coals,” he said. “A lot more planning should have taken place.”

Grattelo did have a guarantee that will please homeowners living off the roads on this year’s paving list.

“Every road that was paved this year, the town will address the shoulders,” he said. “There is no point in paving the road if there are no shoulders.”

“In the future, anytime this town paves a road, it has to include good shoulders.”

Additionally, there is some peace of mind for the taxpayers since the extra money attached to the road repairs and paving project — at the tune of $100,000 — will not in any way require raising taxes or a special town meeting.

“It doesn’t cost the taxpayers any more money. It was set aside,” Grattelo said.

“For next year’s paving projects, there will be a lot less because we spent more this year,” he said.

The total amount set aside for 2017 road projects was $300,000, according to Grattelo. The readjusted cost is more than $100,000 higher than the original price estimate, he said.

Luckily, there is about $1,000,000 (one million dollars) in the paving account, Grattelo said. Also, the recent turn of events illustrates the need for a concrete approach to repairing and maintaining town roads, he said.

Selectman Bob Caron II has been the point man — communicating with Steve Merkle, who does maintenance for the town, and the contractor with Glidden Excavating & Paving, the company that was awarded the bid.

“It was a very learning experience for Bob and me,” Grattelo said.

“The town measures the roads. The town in their RFP [referral for proposals] put out a set number,” he said.

“For each road,” said Caron, “there was a set number of miles.” “The contractor went over roads that were longer than estimated,” he said.

Selectman Kevin Rogers suggested that the town should file away this information about the roads.

“These roads are being done now and documented for 10 or 15 years from now,” he said.

Caron agreed and took the concept one step further.

“The thing to do is create a graph for all the town roads; and stick with a pattern to take care of the roads,” he said, adding that way it will be “easier to plan out the maintenance budget.”

A few days after the meeting, Chairman Grattelo recapped a plan going forward.

“Like we said, the number one thing is we should never pave a road without appropriating money to do the shoulders. There is no sense to raise the road and not pave the shoulders,” he said.

“Number Two: More accurately measure and anticipate the condition of the roads, so we know. Number Three: Come up with a long-term plan with all the roads so they are addressed so that a road becomes so deteriorated that it costs more money,” Grattelo said.

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