Town garage gets two bids, both way higher than expected

The Charlotte Selectboard got unpleasant surprises at its Oct. 10 meeting.

When the board opened the two bids that had been submitted for building a town garage, they found both were for almost $800,000 more than town voters approved.

The board was also surprised that there were only two bids. Those two bids were from Naylor and Breen Builders of Brandon for $3,795,222 and from Farrington Construction of Shelburne for $3,796,754.

Board chair Jim Faulkner remarked on how unusually close the bids were. Just over $1,500 separated Farrington’s high bid from Naylor and Breen’s bid.

The town had expected to have to spend $3 million on building a garage on Route 7 just south of Ferry Road.

Even that figure was more than had initially been expected, but after some contention, voters approved the town taking out a bond or loan for $1.5 million, using $1 million from the town’s American Rescue Plan Act (or ARPA) grant and using $500,000 from the town’s highway reserve and capital funds that road commissioner Junior Lewis saved from his budget.

From pre-bid meetings with contractors Faulkner said they had expected to have five or six bids. Not just two.

Both companies said they have ideas about reducing the cost, town administrator Dean Bloch said, “They’d be open to having a discussion about that, once we see which one perhaps, we’re going with.”

Faulkner said, “We’ll put them on a spread sheet, check them out and see what the next step is.”