The city of Orono is inching closer to proving public works support to the city of Spring Park.
At the city council meeting on Monday, May 24, the council gave city administrator Adam Edwards permission to move ahead with negotations for a contract with Spring Park to provide public works support and to start the process to hire a new public works maintance employee to help provide support to Spring Park.
In December 2019, Spring Park approached Orono about exploring the possibility of Orono providing public works support to Spring Park. The City of Spring Park currently contracts out their public works support. Their primary contract is with People Service which expires in September 2021.
At its May 17 city council meeting, City of Spring Park voted 3-2 to accept the Orono proposal for public works service with two caveats. (Spring Park previously rejected the proposal 3-2).
According to Edwards, the two caveats are to add the Spring Park city logo to vehicles servicing Spring Park and to review the pricing of the contract after one year.
The first caveat was a non issue to Edwards or the council while the second caveat drew some pushback from the the council.
“We already do that with our patrol vehicles for the police department that provide support we provide them and other cities,” Edwards said about the Spring Park logo to vehicles. “No biggie there to buy some decals or whatever we need to make that happen.”
As far as the review of the contract after one year, Edwards said they could work something out with Spring Park for that but did bring up some concerns.
“I think that’s possible there is probably a way to do that,” Edwards said. “The concerns I have going into that is if and when we enter into the contract with them it should be a longer term contract. The one thing we need to do as a city to provide that support is hire at least one full time maintance worker so we don’t want to have a contract that could be ended as soon as we get done hiring somebody new.”
We could do some sort of audit or provision at the end of the first year to look at the cost but we need to put some language in there that would protect us from termination of the contract at that point.”
Mayor Dennis Walsh agreed, “We are going out on a limb to beef up stuff because of that with our personnel and equipment. I’d want at least a five-year contract and I told Jerry Rockvam (mayor) at Spring Park that I have no problem reviewing after a year but its not something they can cancel out on. I wouldn’t have a problem saying we can review it”
In a letter on Jan. 20, 2021 from city of Orono to Spring Park, the orignal estimate to provide support to Spring Park was $191,000 and would begin service September 2021.
The council also gave the thumbs up to Edwards to start hiring process of a new maintence worker to be ready to service Spring Park if the contract details are ironed out.
“It’s a little premature because we don’t have the contract signed and everything but my proposal is to start the process but not bring it to a hire yet,” Edwards said. “We are starting to run up against as far as time is concerned because we need to be able to take over once September comes.”
The council also approved the hiring of David (DJ) Gorman,as the new Public Works Superintendent for the city. Gorman has been the City’s Streets and Stormwater Supervisor for the past five years and prior to that was the Spring Park superintendent for 15 years.