News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 17, 2013
Penobscot awards parking lot bid
Contingent on voters approving additional $30,838

by Anne Berleant

At its January 14 meeting, the Penobscot School Board awarded K.J. Dugas Construction, Inc., the contract to expand the school parking lot, a project that has been stalled at the gate since voters pledged $20,000 at the 2006 town meeting.

But now the price tag has gone up.

At $50,838, K.J. Dugas’ bid was the lowest of the seven submitted to the board for the project, which will add 49 spaces to a 180’ x 120’ area between Penobscot Community School and the fire department. The area is part of a 40-acre parcel owned by the town.

The lot will be finished with a stone dust surface, rather than paving, which would increase the price to $77,788.

“It’s one way to get the parking lot,” said board member Jim Goodman. “Later on down the pike, after it settles, we can pave it.”

However, voters will first have to decide whether to give the additional $30,838 needed, and to spend the $20,000 held in a reserve account. Both will be warrant articles at the March 5 town meeting.

Overflow parking along Route 199 for school and community events has long been deemed a safety hazard by the town selectmen and school board, but delays stemming from septic work to site plan revisions have slowed the project.

The only local bid came from Greg Bowden at $83,719 with a stone dust finish. The bid states the project will begin directly after the school year ends in June.

In other business, the town’s budget committee reviewed a fourth draft of the 2013-14 budget, which is up 4.52 percent or $68,285, before principal and staff raises, for a total of $1,579,296.

A higher number of high school students accounts for $61,293 of the increase. “That’s the story of the budget,” said Superintendent Mark Hurvitt. “No new programs or staff.”

Penobscot pays $9,317 to area high schools for each attending student.

“Good job,” said budget committee chairman Nick Henry after a line-by-line review.

The board meets on Tuesday, January 22, 7 p.m., for a special budget meeting that may “nail it,” said Hurvitt.

Finally, the board approved 4-0-1 (Jennifer Pert abstaining) to extend Principal Allen Cole’s contract until June 30, 2015 and raise his 2013-14 to $70,383, a $1,715 increase.

The board’s next regular meeting is Monday, February 11, 6 p.m., at the school.