BUCKSPORT, Maine — A Woolwich contractor has threatened to sue the town for nonpayment related to a paint job last year at the town dock.
Atlantic Mechanical Inc. was contracted to prepare and paint steel pilings in the fall of 2011. The paint job was supposed to last for years, according to Town Manager Michael Brennan, but instead lasted just months before it began peeling away.
“We just wanted our pilings painted and they’re not,” Brennan said in a recent interview.
Bucksport has so far refused to pay for the work, but the contractor claims the job was done according to specifications provided by the town. If those specifications were unsuited to the job, they say, that’s the town’s fault.
In a Nov. 16 letter, Portland attorney A. Robert Ruesch told the town that Atlantic Mechanical had authorized him to file suit in an effort to recover more than $9,000 — representing about $5,000 in payment for the job and $4,000 for extra work done, plus accruing interest and legal fees. It was not the first letter sent by the attorney in an effort to recover payment.
“I am writing in one final effort to avoid litigation,” Ruesch wrote.
The Town Council discussed the pending lawsuit during an executive session after its regular meeting Thursday night. The content of talks during that meeting aren’t public, but Brennan said the town hopes to come to a solution outside of a courtroom.
“Our attorneys are talking and we’re going to try to come to some kind of agreement,” he said Friday. “We prefer not to go to court. That wouldn’t help anybody.”
In other town business, councilors voted on Thursday to award a bid for a new fire truck from Yankee Fire & Rescue Inc. of Palmer, Mass. The combined pumper and tanker truck was custom-built according to the Bucksport Fire Department’s specifications, and is expected to last the town about 30 years.
Voters approved spending up to $285,000 for the new fire truck in a referendum in November. Yankee Fire’s bid, including a $15,000 trade-in for an old pumper truck, is about $282,000.
The decision to purchase was near-unanimous, with only Councilor Belle Ryder opposed. Ryder said she was concerned that only two bids were received, and felt she didn’t have enough information to justify spending such a large amount of money.
Councilor Byron Vinton III said he understood a hesitance to spend, but said the fire crew takes good care of its equipment and trusted that Chief Craig Bowden had done his due diligence in seeking bids.
“I don’t like spending money any more than anyone else does, but I think there’s a time it’s necessary,” he said.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.