Published February 15. 2014 4:00AM
Ledyard - Mayor John Rodolico is poised to sign a three-year water contract with and grant a bid waiver to Groton Utilities, despite protest from the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority.
When the Water Pollution Control Authority sent out its original request for proposals in 2010, SCWA and Groton Utilities were the primary contenders for the contract. But the WPCA at the time was under the auspices of the Town Council due to financial issues, and neither party would sign a long-term contract while the authority's financial status remained uncertain.
The WPCA has been operating on month-to-month contracts with Groton Utilities since their third one-year interim agreement expired last summer. Now that the WPCA is in a position to enter into a long-term contract, the three-year contract would represent a continuation of the original plan - a measure WPCA members have recommended.
SCWA Chairman Ed Mon ahan told the Town Council at its meeting Wednesday that the WPCA should go out to bid instead of moving forward with a years-old arrangement, contending that there could be a cheaper way to bring water to residents.
But WPCA Vice Chairman Mike Cherry said Groton Utilities - which, through the Ledyard WPCA, serves about 1,200 residents - provides critical engineering and operational support that SCWA, which also serves about 1,200 customers through smaller well systems, cannot.
"We don't see that anything has changed among the players," said Cherry said. "SCWA doesn't have the capabilities to do what we require."
Rodolico asked the Finance Committee to hold off on authorizing the contract and bid waiver - and moving it to the Town Council for approval - while he waits for more data from Groton Utilities.
But he added that had the Finance Committee not tabled the motion, the Town Council likely would have approved it with no objections last week.
The Finance Committee meets again Wednesday.