Those members who attended a public meeting Wednesday of Lansford borough council rejected both bids submitted for a pole building to house American Fire Co. No. 1.
New bids will be sought, and council expects to award the work when it meets in September.
With just barely a quorum present, council members Samantha Yasson, Lenny Kovach, Andrew Snyder and President Rosemary Cannon accepted Keystone Consulting Engineers' advice to reject the bids. Council members Danielle Smith, Tommy Vadyak and Mary Soberick were absent.
The bids were opened at 2 p.m. Monday.
The apparent low bidder was Bradley E. Miller, doing business as B&B Pole Building, which submitted a base bid of $351,648.35.
The other low bidder, Wood Originals Inc., submitted a base bid of $357,996.
"Since both bids were unclear or did not follow the required bidding format, we would recommend that all bids received for this project be rejected," Keystone wrote in its recommendation, dated Aug. 14.
The letter said the engineers discussed the matter with the fire company, and suggested ways to "reduce the project scope."
The pole building will go up at 26 E. Patterson St., the site of the former borough hall/fire station, built in 1906, which was razed in May. the borough offices have since been moved to 1 E. Ridge St.
The original specifications called for were for a 70 feet by 95 feet pole building, to be finished by Oct. 1. The work would have included a concrete curb, concrete sidewalk, pavement restoration, and a concrete floor.
In a related matter, council gave conditional approval to Bob Perrin of the Lansford Historical Society to dig in the site area for historic artifacts that may be in areas where outhouses were located. Perrin, of Coaldale, said he would make sure the excavations are properly filled and tamped, and that spectators would be kept away from the actual work. Any artifacts found would be donated to the Historical Society museum at 117 E. Bertsch St. in town.
However, the approval for Perrin's project is conditional on insurance company approval, fire company approval, engineers approval, and barring any new information that may present reasons not to do the excavating.
Yasson said fire company officials had said their insurance company had advised against the dig. Cannon said she was concerned that the excavation might hold up the pole building project, but Perrin said he would begin immediately, and be finished well before any work on the new building would start.
Perrin is especially interested in any old bottles that may be found. He said the outhouse sites usually contain old medicine bottles, which can be quite valuable. Since 2004, Perrin has excavated more than 1,000 outhouse sites. He donates many of the artifacts he discovers to historical societies in the area.
Also on Wednesday, council:
Ÿ On the recommendation of the borough planning commission rejected adoption of the Middle Carbon Comprehensive Plan. Planners said the plan would do little to help the borough. besides, Lansford already has a comprehensive plan of its own. Cannon said council needs to make sure it receives the promised reimbursement for the $8,000 it has already spent on the recreational portion of the Middle Carbon Plan.
Ÿ Listened to an West Ridge Street resident, Pat Whalen, who complained about another resident feeding birds, about parking lines being faded, and that storm drains are not being cleaned. The woman also wants to see the borough outlaw teenagers smoking in public.
Kovach said paint is expensive $97 for a five-gallon bucket and that the borough must prioritize. Workers paint school bus stop cross walks and no parking spaces first, and work from there. They also clean the storm drains, he said.
Cannon said it would be difficult to enforce a law barring teenage smoking.
Ÿ Kovach said the borough needs a dump truck. Council discussed possible costs and options, including a PennDOT auction scheduled for fall.