EAST GREENWICH – The East Greenwich Town Council recently awarded a bid to Servepro, a cleanup and restoration company, to thoroughly clean and disinfect two fire stations in town. The bid for the cleaning of Station 1 and 2 was priced up to, but could not exceed, $52,000, with the ultimate cost depending on how much work the town chooses to go forward with.  

Town manager Andrew Nota explained to the council that the cleaning service was negotiated in the latest contract with the fire department, under the Protection of Employees section. 

The section states that the town would be responsible for contracting with an outside company to perform an annual surface cleaning and disinfection of each fire house, including complete and thorough washing and disinfection on all interior surfaces throughout the living areas, apparatus areas and storage areas. 

Nota said that, because Servpro offered an “a la carte menu” of cleaning options, the town would be meeting with the company to discuss what and how much work would be appropriate, based on the fire department’s contract. 

“We included the language ‘as not to exceed the $52,000’ because Servpro came in and gave us an a la carte menu of 100 different items,” he said. “We’re going to work with Servpro in coming up with a scope of work that we think is appropriate, not only in terms of the work that’s being done, but to meet the intent of the language that was negotiated with the fire department in that last contract.”

The town manager also said that Servpro was one of two bids, the other being DiBro Holdings, however the second bid was disqualified during the process. 

“We had two bidders submit, one was disqualified as really not submitting a responsive bid and didn’t have the capability of performing the work as outlined,” Nota said. 

He went on to say that, while both Station 1 and Station 2 would be cleaned, the bulk of the price stemmed from Station 1, which hasn’t had a thorough cleaning in decades and would require a great deal of work. 

“The majority of that cost is really Station 1, because it’s never had a thorough cleaning,” he said. “So we’re also talking about ductwork cleaning.” 

The total cost of cleaning Station 1 was estimated to cost around $42,000, while Station 2 was priced at just over $10,000. According to the fire department, the town manager and finance director would be required to find the funding for the request through unassigned funds in the operating budget, which are to be determined. 

Councilor Mike Zarrella asked Nota why the price seemed so “excessively high.” 

“It’s basically due to the fact that [Station 1] hasn’t been cleaned in decades,” Nota said. “The fire chief [Bernard Patenaude] talked to the company about it and that’s really what’s driving the cost.”

Nota also said, because the cleaning would have to be completed annually, as per the fire department contract, the cleanings would get easier and easier with each passing year, and therefore less costly. 

“Each year [...] it should get easier and easier, and less costly, to do that work on an annual basis,” he said. “This is the first thorough cleaning.”

Nevertheless, the initial cleaning of Station 1 would undoubtedly result in the department and town finding more work that would have to be completed.

“I think we all understand what we’re going to find at that point. We’re going to find conditions that warrant additional work,” he said. “They’re going to warrant cleaning and painting and sealing of those areas.”

Zarrella also asked whether the cleaning could be pushed to next year, or the cost deferred, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“There’s no way to piecemeal this and defer some of the money to next year?” Zarrella asked. “That is a pretty big budget, and with the crisis going on, $50,000 is something we could use right now.”

But Nota said that, based on the language in the fire department contract, the annual cleaning would have to begin this year. However, he said that if the town stayed on top of the cleanings annually, the price should come down significantly with each passing year. 

Nota also said that the town was having ongoing conversations with the fire department about further improvements to the stations, particularly Station 1, after the town made the initial cleaning investment. 

The town council voted unanimously in favor of awarding the bid to Servpro. 

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