Chilmark selectmen button up Menemsha pier project

Chilmark selectmen on Tuesday agreed to hire Tisbury contractor Powers Electric Inc. to connect water, telephone, electrical, and cable service to the soon-to-be completed town pier, destroyed during the Menemsha fire last July.

Powers Electric was the only company to bid on the project, offering to do the work for $105,885. Selectmen had set a target of $100,000 for the work, and met with owner Cole Powers before their regular meeting Tuesday to discuss reducing the cost of the project.

Mr. Powers suggested some changes to the bid specifications, including reducing the width of the water pipe from two-inches to 1.25 inches and a switch from copper to aluminum in an NSTAR line.

Selectman Warren Doty said making these changes would shave $6,000 from the cost of the project, and bring the project within the range selectmen agreed to last year.

“This is the last piece to complete this project by June 1,” Mr. Doty said.

Contractor C. White Marine is close to finishing a 15-foot wide pier made of precast, reinforced concrete and 15-foot pile caps, replacing the timber connector to the Menemsha fill pier that was destroyed in the fire last July 12. That fire also destroyed the Coast Guard boat house.

Selectman Jonathan Mayhew questioned the decision to reduce the size of the water pipe. “It will represent a problem getting water out to the pier,” he said.

Newly elected chairman Frank Fenner noted that the water previously went out to the pier through a one-inch pipe. “I know, and it hasn’t been good,” Mr. Mayhew replied.

Executive secretary Tim Carroll explained that selectmen could not award the bid unless they had the money to cover the cost of the project. He said selectmen can further negotiate with Powers Electronics and make changes in the future, after they award the contract.

Town accountant Emily Day said there could be leftover money in the engineering fund for the pier project, which could be used to supplement the cost of the utilities. Selectmen unanimously voted to award the contract to Powers Electronics.