Hi

The mowing of the sewage field bids are posted on the Township website now. Part of the fair process of giving work in the township is to use an open bid system. In West Vincent, the fair process is subject to manipulation.

http://westvincenttwp.org/images/docs/Sewer%20Plant%20Mowing%20Bid%202013.pdf

Let me start with a short history for the new readers since this bidding happens once a year. Every year two tracts of land where the sewage effluent is sprayed needs mowed several times. The hay must be baled and removed from these fields. Local Farmer, Supervisor and Roadmaster Ken Miller gets the bid. Every year residents that use the sewer plant (Weatherstone and Matthews Meadows) for pay around $23,000 a year for that mowing work. Other townships pay under $1000 for the same or more work. Why don't those people bid, the ones that mow the other other township fields? There are a number of reasons ranging from being afraid of some kind of retribution because of Mr. Miller's political connections, to dealing with West Vincent Township and having their bond seized on a bogus claim of faulty performance.

This contract is especially interesting. The 
Liability Insurance required is $500,000; more than the normal amount for doing this kind of job (normal rate $300,000). But the worst issue is the fact that the Township will dictate when the fields will be cut instead of following the guidelines set forth by the DEP for cutting spray fields. The contract states:

“Grass is to be cut at the discretion of the Township. It is estimated that the field will be mowed and the crop removed five (5) times at Matthews Meadows and three (3) times at Weatherstone.”

Where is the manipulation? Besides the higher than normal performance bond, if another farmer were to bid on this project (instead of Ken Miller being awarded the bid) the Township (Supervisor Ken Miller) could simply instruct the Manager (Jim Wendelgass) to make the contractor cut the fields every month and it would not be enough material in which to bale the hay and remove the crop therefore failing to perform properly and defaulting on the contract. No farmer would risk being told when to harvest a crop, especially when there are special DEP guidelines that should not be overruled by the Township. If the farmer fails to mow, then the bond is there to protect the township. But if Ken Miller gets the mowing job he will dictate when the fields are cut, therefore they will be done at the proper time. The Township could state that the fields can be cut after the crop reaches a percentage of the maximum allowable height in order to give a window of time to the contractor to make sure they get their moneys worth and limit excessive cuttings, if that is their fear. The way it is set up currently is primed to abuse anyone that steps on Miller's toes. Ken Miller will get the bid again this year and the losers are the residents of Weatherstone and Matthews Meadows developments that pay the mowing bill. That money comes directly from their sewage bill payments. There is always the chance that someone else will bid at an inflated price to cover Ken to make the bidding “look” fair. But when comparing the same work and what it costs the other townships sheds light on the truth.

Have a Happy Easter and I hope everyone spends quality time with family and friends over this holiday.

Best wishes

Chickenman


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