BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater Township Council approved a resolution Monday to set aside additional funding for snow removal with RJS Associates Landscaping despite concerns about the work the company has done in the Finderne section of town.
The contract is for an amount not to exceed $50,000, and is only set aside money in case it is needed for future snowstorms. RJS does plowing in the southeast end of the township, mostly the Finderne section.
“My understanding is this is not money that we owe or is allocated,” councilman Allen Kurdyla said.
But, Kurdyla said, he has some concerns about the company’s performance.
RJS Associates was issued the original contract for snow removal despite initial concerns because it was the only one that issued a bid for the contract.
Township administrator James Naples said they have difficulties with this contract because the small firms are already locked into lucrative commercial deals, and bigger companies have other work to do and can’t take on the township.
“But we are going to look at revamping the spec to hopefully increase interest,” he said.
Kurdyla said he had heard complaints from residents that it was two days after the January blizzard before the plows reached their streets. And once the company arrived, he said, they only plowed through once and then never returned.
One of the problems the company had during the storm, Kurdyla said, was that one truck got stuck and they had to use a heavier truck to free it, which took away time that could have been used for plowing.
“In all fairness to the bidder, he has a very difficult area to plow in,” he said.
Kurdyla added that many of the streets have cars parked on the side, which makes it difficult for plows to get through.
“We used the performance of this vendor to hopefully upgrade our expectations of what a new company would do,” he said.
Naples said the January blizzard was difficult for everyone, including the public works department.
“Even our trucks were getting stuck in this storm, with the four-wheel drive,” he said. “We had to use our bigger trucks.”
Naples said they are going to try to get a wider field in the next round bid for snow removal.
Council president Filipe Pedroso asked if the township had considered providing a live map of plowing, which other towns have done. He said it provides information about when a particular street will be plowed.
Naples said it is something they have looked into, but have concerns about accuracy of the reporting. Sometimes, he said, the plow times posted are incorrect, and then residents are calling in to the township wondering why the plows have not shown up.