NEWPORT – Selectmen Wednesday night settled a disagreement over how much winter sand to buy and how much to pay for it.
Robert Noyes of R and R Lumber of Carmel addressed the board to explain his side of a disagreement with the town’s public works director, Jack Wilson.
Wilson arranged to buy 1,500 yards of the town’s winter sand from Noyes at $2.25 per yard. When Wilson calculated the number of loads hauled by town trucks from Noyes’ gravel pit, he determined the final amount was only 1,308 yards. His calculations were based on the belief that one of the town trucks held 12 yards of material and the other two held 7 yards each.
“I’d heard you [the town] had a habit of wanting 2,000 and paying for 1,500,” Noyes told the board Wednesday night. “So I measured out 1,500 yards. I told Jack the pile was ready if that was what he wanted. I expected a check for 1,500 yards.”
When Noyes learned that Wilson disputed the amount of sand that was in the pile, he met with him to measure the town trucks.
“I really think he believed the trucks were 12- and 7-yard trucks,” Noyes said about Wilson’s reaction to a measurement the men made of the trucks. The trucks reportedly measured as 15 yards and 8 yards.
Based on the measurement, Noyes thought the town owed him an additional $423. He also based his belief on conversations with people who witnessed the loaded trucks and said they were fully loaded, and sometimes overloaded.
Wilson, however, was not satisfied with the measurements and loaded the trucks to weigh them. Using calculations based on the weight, Wilson believed the trucks hauled 1,308 yards as he had calculated originally. He also explained that just because people could see sand at the top of the truck body, it did not mean the body was full.
“The times I was on the pile the trucks were no where near loaded,” Wilson told the board. “If he XXXNoyesXXX anticipated a problem, he had every opportunity to measure the trucks beforehand.”
Wilson also reported that last year’s supplier was satisfied with his calculations.
Board Chairman Al Worden was upset to learn the town had earned a reputation for not treating businesses fairly.
Selectman Jim Brann saw the issue as a misunderstanding and made a motion to pay the difference in the dispute to settle it. Selectman John Buckland agreed with him. In the final vote, Selectman Ron Goode also supported the motion. Selectman Richard Parlee opposed the payment.
Wilson’s allegations that Noyes didn’t supply the amount agreed on, distressed Noyes.
“Now you’re playing with my reputation and I don’t appreciate it,” he said.
Worden emphasized that paying the amount Noyes asked for should not be construed as an admission of guilt. He also encouraged the town manager and Wilson to make better arrangements in the future.