Alna did not go looking for trouble or for something to do, First Selectman Ed Pentaleri said Nov. 16 about winter plowing. He had been fielding residents’ questions and comments about the town’s loss of its plowing contractor, Holbrook Excavating, including the timing. The Woolwich firm’s pullout this month led to a new request for bids. The board was set to open the bids Monday, Nov. 21.
“We take this (plowing) situation very, very seriously and we’re going to do absolutely everything we can to ensure that people can get to work when they need to, that their children can make it to school, that (people) can make it to the grocery store or pharmacy” and that public safety crews can use the roads, he said. Trying to drive on roads deep in snow could risk needing help and putting responders at risk, he added.
Due to Wiscasset Newspaper’s early press time this week due to a holiday schedule, check wiscassetnewspaper.com and see next week’s print edition for results of the Nov. 21 meeting.
At the Nov. 16 one, Pentaleri said the contract gave Holbrook from April 1 to April 30 to tell the town if the firm was not going to serve the final year, not “at this very late date.”
Owner Evan Holbrook did not immediately return a phone message seeking new comment. He recently told Wiscasset Newspaper Pentaleri’s statements in a Nov. 2 board meeting surprised him and made him less desire to move forward with the town.
Pentaleri told attendees Nov. 16, “At this point we’re focused on doing everything we can to ensure that Alna’s roads remain safe and passable through the coming winter season.” To that end, he gathered an ad hoc group who helped him draft the new request for proposals, he said. Without yet knowing the response, “I don’t think we can predict quite how things are likely to develop or when we’ll make a decision ... Depending on how things unfold, we’ll do the best we can to come up with a plan to help ensure our roads remain safe and accessible ...,” he reiterated.
In the meantime, it might be advisable to plan to not be able to return to the roads as soon after a storm, he said.
Resident Ralph Hilton said he was appalled that one selectman spoke out instead of holding an executive session of the board. “I think you gave the citizens of Alna and Mr. Holbrook a bad deal.”
“You just caught me totally by surprise by all the accusations that you unloaded ...,” Pentaleri told Hilton. Pentaleri said a number of issues led him to raise the concerns Nov. 2.
Also Nov. 16, the board named Corey Fortin of Washington deputy code enforcement officer and deputy plumbing inspector. Pentaleri said when CEO/plumbing inspector Tom McKenzie’s recently announced resignation takes effect, Fortin will become acting CEO/plumbing inspector.
Pentaleri thanked Town Clerk Michelle Cameron and other election workers for what he said was a smooth election with a high turnout Nov. 8.