Sewer bids

Harwich selectmen addressed their disappointment Monday in the Phase II sewer project construction bids that came in 33 percent higher than the original estimate a year ago. However, they were pleased that Robert B. Our Inc. of Harwich turned in the lowest bid at $11.4 million of four submitted for the project and the others were all in the same range.

The selectmen tabled action on awarding the bid until next week and indicated a preference for a fall town meeting to seek approval for the extra cost. Representatives of CDM Smith, the general contractor on the project, recommended R.B. Our for the contract based on its experience on multiple sewerage projects in Harwich and Massachusetts. This phase involves 650 properties in East Harwich.

David Young of CDM Smith explained that the bidding climate has changed and the biggest deferential in the costs is paving and petroleum products with a lot of paving going on throughout the state.

Board Chairman Larry Ballantine asked what could be done better in the next phase of the eight-phase project to avoid delays in awarding bids, which were intended to go out earlier. Young suggested his staff meet with town staff more to bolster communication.

Two residents expressed their displeasure Monday with the delay in the bid process.

The selectmen also held off on approving until next Monday the taking of four private and three public properties for permanent sewer and sewer pump station easements and temporary construction easements. The town clerk needs to certify the properties and the Department of Environmental Protection needs to certify the contract for the project by June 30. Young said, “All the contracts are out to bid and a contractor is ready to go.”

In related news, Charles Sumner introduced himself to the selectmen Monday night as the representative of Weston and Sampson that will handle project management on Phase II of the East Harwich sewer project.

A principal in the company, Sumner said he will serve as project manager and outreach coordinator. A former Brewster town administrator, he said he brings his experience in communication and coordination from that position and others he has held.

Sumner said he had set up an email for residents to contact him directly about questions on the project. The email is csumner@townofharwich.us and he can also be contacted by phone at 508-430-7514, ext. 3318.

The selectmen had been recommending for some time the need for someone to coordinate the large sewer project and awarded the contract to Weston and Sampson on April 8 for $75,000 for 2019-2020.

Summer Kickoff

The annual Summer Kickoff and Magic Show, sponsored by Brooks Free Library and the Harwich Recreation Department, is set for Friday, June 21, 5 to 7 p.m., at Harwich Community Center, 100 Oak St.

Hot dogs and games will begin at 5 p.m., and a magician will perform at 6 p.m.

The event is free and does not require registration. All welcome. Info: 508-430-7562.