The Rockport Select Board convened March 9 and unanimously approved contracts between the town and Phi Builders and Architects to construct the parking area for the new Rockport Public Library, reconfigure the intersection of Central, Union and Limerock streets, and carry out various upgrades to the lower level of the facility.
The board also approved an addendum to the town’s contract with North East Mobile Health Services, the town’s ambulance service.
Town Manager Bill Post said the estimate for the intersection work near the new library, which involves removing an existing cement “island” used by pedestrians, is approximately $242,000. He said that $110,000 will be paid by the Maine Department of Transportation, and constitutes and infrastructure improvement for the town. He pointed out that the cost estimate is open to various change orders as the project continues.
“This is not a fixed price like everything else, and I know that there will be a change order or two in that because, again, it’s an infrastructure project,” said Post.
The intersection work is a project funded separately from the new library parking, and revisions or upgrades to the building’s lower level: parking was included in the overall construction estimate for the library, $1.5 million of which was paid through a bond voted on by Rockport residents, the remaining $2 million of which was raised through donations.
The improvements to the lower level of the building were proposed and funded by an anonymous donor.
Chair Debra Hall said that an agreement between Phi and the town to include parking within the initial scope of the project was memorialized in a letter, and that, should the project come in under budget, and remaining funds would be allocated first to cover expenses associated with parking construction, rather than “soft costs” such as furniture and equipment for the facility – those would be funded through donations gathered by the Rockport Library Foundation:
She said: “Yes we are below budget [for the project]. Any monies we do have for that contract price out of our soft costs that are not spent, those go toward the parking to contribute to that along with what Bettina [Doulton of Phi Builders] is doing. And we had agreed that the parking amounts take a higher priority than the furniture and equipment, and that’s why we’re going out and trying to do independent fundraising.”
NorthEast Mobile Health agreement
Post presented to the Select Board an addendum to the town’s contact with emergency medical service provided North East Mobile Health Services (NEMHS) which would extend the municipality’s contract with NEMHS by an additional year, from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
He said the addendum measures the response time from NEMHS receiving a call to the time one of their ambulances arrives at a location, then adds two minutes to the average response time, thereby allowing a CPI (consumer price index) increase to the contract of up to 3 percent. Post said that in the previous contract, response time was calculated when an ambulance left NEMHS and was en route to a call, rather than when they received the initial page for service.
“North East has been providing information over the past couple months that we’ve been looking at, they’ve been tracking not only when they respond to a call but when they get paged, and it’s been averaging about two minutes or a little bit under, so I felt that was fair. In negotiations North East wanted to add three minutes onto the time, but they agreed to two minutes which I think is more appropriate,” said Post.
He said that the contract’s potential price increase of a capped three percent was inkeeping with the contracts Lincolnville and Hope have with NEMHS. The Select Board unanimously approved the addendum, which places Rockport in line with the towns of Camden, Lincolnville and Hope to have their contracts with NEMHS expire at the same time, in June of 2021.
Maine’s Bicentennial Celebration
An invitation was extended to the board and all citizens to attend a celebration of Maine’s bicentennial, which will be held in Rockport on March 15.
The festivities commence Sunday morning at 9 a.m. with a walk up Beech Hill, where cocoa and cookies will be served from 9 to 11 a.m. From noon to 2 p.m., lunch will be served at the Masonic Hall on Main St., and tours will be giving of the Simonton Corner Community Hall which has recently been undergoing renovation.
A highlight of the event will be a be a dinner served at the Rockport Opera House and catered by Cafe Miranda. Tickets for Rockport’s celebration of Maine’s Bicentennial can be purchased at the Rockport Town Office.