Southington council holds hearing on preferred bidding proposal

Published on Monday, 27 November 2017 21:33
Written by BRIAN M. JOHNSON 


SOUTHINGTON - The Town Council held a public hearing on proposed revisions to the town’s preferred bidding ordinance Monday.

Several young students attended Monday’s meeting and took notes on the events that transpired.

Mark Sciota, town attorney and town manager-elect, explained that the bidding revision would award a bid to a local business as long as it matched an out of town low bidder within 10 percent. Previously, the bid would be awarded to the local business if their bid was within 5 percent of an out of town low bidder. The council will take action on the proposal at its next meeting.

Taylor Crofton, interim executive director of the Southington Chamber of Commerce, spoke in favor of the change.

“A strong local business community supports itself,” said Crofton. “You have an opportunity to strengthen business in Southington and on behalf of the chamber I urge you to do so.”

Residents Matthw O’Keefe, Kathleen MacArthur, Jack Perry and Rob Flood also supported the change. 

Board of Education Chairman Brian Goral-ski said the council should make an exception for snowplow services.

Resident Brian Corbino urged the council to scrap the ordinance altogether.

“It is creating a market distortion,” he said. “It gives people outside the community an incentive to increase their bids. I guarantee Southington is paying more than it needs to. This means that Southington businesses don’t have to be competitive.”

Flood said he had researched the topic, which he was initially “torn on,” and that he found no evidence in other towns of out-of-town businesses not bidding with a similar 10 percent leeway.

Perry said that a 10 percent leeway is “not abnormal” in other towns.

Later in the meeting, Councilor Tom Lombardi announced that this year’s Apple Harvest Festival generated a $15,300 profit.

“This is a self-sustaining operation,” said Lombardi. “It is run by volunteers without taxpayer money. We had great weather this year, but on years with not as good weather it fluctuates. It should nonetheless be viewed as a self-sustaining operation.”

Sciota also discussed the impact of $4.3 million in state budget cuts.

“The town and Board of Education will be having issues and the committee chairs will be meeting soon to discuss this,” he said. “I have frozen all cash-funded capital expenditures which will give me time to talk to the department heads and tell them to make no new purchases until we see where we are. Unless it is detrimental not to do a purchase, which I will approve on a case by case basis, everything is on hold. In January we may face additional cuts so we will have to watch this very closely.”

The council also honored past council members Paul Champagne, Ed Pocock III and Cheryl Lounsbury for their years of service to the town.

Sciota said that next meeting, Dec. 12, he will resign as town attorney and the council will appoint its new town attorney and assistant town attorney. 

During public comment Perry called for an open process in deciding what to do with Sciota’s deputy town manager position when he becomes town manager.

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at or . Follow him on Twitter at @brianjohnsonBP.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain, Southington Herald on Monday, 27 November 2017 21:33. Updated: Monday, 27 November 2017 21:35.