| Mar 26, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - March 26, 2009 Central Frontenac Council –Mar 24/09By Jeff Green

Deposit debacle costs CF Township $62,000 

Central Frontenac Council accepted a bid of $331,200 for gravel crushing, even though they had received another bid, for $62,000 less.

The lowest bid was that of Elliott Agregates of Kingston, at $269,000. The second lowest bid was that of Clouthier Construction of Renfrew County at $331,200. However, Elliot’s bid was not considered, because it was not accompanied by a certified cheque or bid bond for 10% of its value, as was “clearly stated in the tender documents” according to a report to Council from John Simcock, public works manager, and John Duchene, chief administrative officer.

Before awarding the tender, council agreed to entertain a submission from ratepayer Bob Pollard of Brewer Road near Sharbot Lake. “When I look at the township roads plan,” Pollard said, “I see that a lot of roads can be fixed up for about $2,000 per kilometre; so $62,000 represents 31 kilometres of roads that won't get improvements. I understand the requirement for the bond, but in all fairness the township has sufficient funds owing to the company to cover the bond. If that is the only issue, I think as members of council it is incumbent upon you to take the lowest bid”.

Mayor Gutowski said “I’m sure we all feel this is a lot of money but there was an issue with one tender, and staff sought a legal opinion. It would be a serious thing to go against a staff report and a legal opinion”.

Deputy Mayor Gary Smith said he would like to hear from the public works manager about the companies.

“I signed the report,” said Simcock, “but I don't agree with the decision”. He went on to say that Elliott Construction did a lot of free digging for the township last summer, when the township was facing a fine by the Ministry of Transportation. He also said that the township “did have a lot of Elliott's money in house”.

Elliott's had the winter sand contact for the township and at the time the tenders were due for the gravel contract, the township owed Elliott’s some $40,000. This left Elliott's short of the $26,000 required as a bid bond.

“He [Elliott] did contact me to ask if the bid bond could be taken off the money owing, and I said 'you can try it'. He said ‘you already have my money’. My overall impression was to go with Elliott. But the township talked to the solicitor regarding the bid bond issue”, said John Simcock.

Township CAO John Duchene was not happy about the $62,000 in extra costs, but said, “Our solicitor said you cannot mix contracts; you have to have all those contractors on a level playing field. The other contractors are certainly watching this as well”.

“We are open to charges much greater than $62,000 if we fail to follow our own rules,” said Deputy Mayor Gary Smith.

Council voted unanimously to grant the tender to Clouthier Construction for $331,200.

Council denies request for support from Sharbot Lake Country Inn - The township received a letter from Dave Saban of the Sharbot Lake Country Inn. In the letter Saban said his business is regularly used by the public. “As I have explained in the past our facility is being used by the community and our travelling tourists as a PUBLIC facility. ... In the normal course of maintenance we maintain this facility: parking lot grading, snow removal, etc, washroom cleaning. As the result our septic system must now be upgraded”.

Saban attached a quote for the cost of the upgrade, which is over $31,000 and asked that the township pay half of the cost “to keep these facilities available to the general public”.

“If I ran a gas station on Highway 7, I would jump on this and ask for support,” said Councilor Norm Guntensperger.

“It's really a matter of where you draw the line,” said Councilor Bob Harvey. “If we do this, who's next?”

The request was denied.

Mayor Gutowski then said, “I feel the township should go further and try to find a solution to this problem. I don't think we should leave the matter at nothing. I don’t think it's a discussion we should let die.”

Dashke denied again, OMB hearing next week – Council received a package of information from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) that had been presented to them by David Dashke. Dashke is appealing a township decision to approve a portable cement mixing facility on Hwy. 7, within a kilometre of his home, which he is planning to turn into a bed and breakfast complete with nature trails and other features.

The OMB wanted Council to inform them if they were going to rescind their approval in light of the new information.

Several councilors said they read the material and found there was nothing new in it, and council re-affirmed their decision to grant the zoning. The OMB hearing will likely go ahead.

Trailer blues – A request from CAO Duchene to be given leave to present an interim solution to the township’s space problem in light of the growing inadequacy of the temporary trailers that have housed the public works department for many months was granted.

Council then debated whether they should be looking at long-term needs, and considered setting up a visioning session. Duchene said that “staff could present a non-compromising interim solution, and Council could meet to discuss the long term.”

Councilor Guntensperger wondered what the visioning was all about.

Deputy Mayor Smith explained, using an analogy: “There's a big box and a little box. It's useful to have the big box first so you can see how the little box fits into it”.

Budget – Budget deliberations are set to begin on Tuesday, March 30, 4 pm at the Oso Hall in Sharbot Lake. 

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