Logging companies in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, accuse council of excluding them from bidding for contract to thin borough watershed; official says list of preferred lumber companies compiled by state's DNR was used to solicit bids

READING, Pennsylvania , October 8, 2013 () – Three Boyertown logging companies' representatives expressed disappointment at Monday's borough council meeting that they had not been given the opportunity to bid on lumber harvested during a recent initiative.

In August, the council sent solicitations to 13 lumber companies, hoping to gain an attractive sum for logs harvested during a pruning and thinning effort around the borough's watershed.

None of the companies that received solicitations were based in Boyertown.

A Lancaster County lumber company paid $89,000, council said. Only one other company made an offer on the lumber.

Garth Hahn, owner of Hahn Firewood and Logging, said he didn't know the solicitations went out until after the deal was done.

"Every one of us would have bid on that job, and we're local," he said to the council. "Your timber could've been worth 120 (thousand dollars)."

Patricia Hahn, Garth Hahn's wife, said council missed an opportunity to funnel the lumber profits back into the borough.

Such a move made little sense, she added, considering the council frequently stresses buying from Boyertown shops and businesses.

"We pay earned income tax," she said, "but we can't earn income in Boyertown? It just really blows my mind that nobody thought, 'Maybe there's someone local who can do this job.'"

Gift Lumber Co. also was present at the meeting.

Borough Manager Patricia Loder explained that a forester was hired to assess the project, who gave council a list of preferred lumber companies compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The companies that received solicitations were all on the list, she said, although no local companies were included.

Borough Council President Frank Deery told the companies that he'd ask why they aren't on the list.

Council Vice President Keith Endy said he realizes not putting bids out to local companies was a mistake on council's part.

"It was my belief that it went out to the people that it could," he said. "All I can say is that I'm sorry that it did not go to you guys."

Contact Laura Newberry: 610-371-5081 or lnewberry@readingeagle.com.

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