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North Adams Transcript

Hoosac Water Quality District request deadline extend to June 4

By Carrie Saldo
North Adams Transcript

Saturday, May 17, 2003 -

WILLIAMSTOWN -- Hoosac Water Quality District officials have extended the due date for Request for Proposals to privatize the Simonds Road wastewater treatment facility for a second time.

Proposals from companies vying to privatize the district that were due Wednesday are now due June 4.

Chief Operator and Chief Procurement Officer Ridelto "Rusty" Nodal said the deadline was extended so the district could hold a May 21 meeting about three addenda drafted by North Adams Mayor John Barrett III.

If approved by district commissioners, the addenda would alter the RFP to include a 10-year contract with a 10-year renewal option, an alternate staffing plan, and different bid bond and performance bond requirements.

Nodal said the four companies that have the RFP were contacted Tuesday by phone, letter, and fax about the date change in order to prevent them from sending proposals that might end up outdated.

No bids were received by the district on the former May 14 due date, Nodal said.

Last week Barrett said he drafted the addenda because the RFP was too restrictive, as it states all current employees must remain at the district at their current pay rate and other guidelines that "tied the hands" of companies vying to privatize.

The addenda Barrett wants endorsed would make it possible for companies to submit RFPs to run the district at a cheaper price, according to him.

Tuesday, the district received a letter from Woodward & Curran, a Portland, Maine company that requested a bid packet, saying it couldn't submit an RFP because it was too restrictive.

Nodal said he called the company back, explained the addenda and that the district would be looking them over. Following that conversation an official from Woodward & Curran said it would probably return a proposal.

Barrett went public with the addenda last week after he said Nodal refused to approve them in time for them to be included with the RFP.

Nodal said approval of the addenda was up to district commissioners, not him.

Barrett had said he planned to contact the state Attorney General's office because he contends it is within Nodal's purview to authorize the addenda.

However, with the district extending the RFP due date and examining the addenda Barrett said Friday that was not needed.

Barrett said he was pleased the district was reviewing the addenda.

"This way (the companies) hands aren't tied and they can go back, sharpen their pencils and take good at it," Barrett said. "I think this will be a good opportunity for companies to put in a competitive proposal to run this plant."

Nodal said the RFP could be reviewed by the technical committee the evening of June 4, as they are due at 1 p.m. that date.

The technical committee will review all RFPs to evaluate the them and determine which, if any proposal is the most desirable.

Following that the financial committee will meet to review the monetary end of the proposals.

Nodal said the financial information "will be under lock and key" until the technical committee is finished with its evaluation of the proposals.

"Because these are proposals and not bids the district can choose which ever one it wants," or none at all, Nodal said.

The four HWQD commissioners will use the evaluations of the both committees to help it reach a decision as to whether privatization is right for the district, Nodal said.

But he does not know how soon that decision will be reached, he said.

The RFP was originally due in April but district commissioners extended that to May 14.

Previously, the district has said it would explore the option of privatization but made no guarantees they would make the shift.

Barrett has said the district should look at privatization because it could save North Adams and Williamstown ratepayers money.

Williamstown is assessed about 53 percent of the cost to run the district, while North Adams pays about 47 percent.