After months of speculation, the rivalry between Montclair and Bloomfield to win the fire services contract ended Monday night when Glen Ridge awarded its coveted 10-year fire protection contract to Montclair. Montclair’s bid included an incentive bonus — knocking $200,000 off the current contract, which goes to the end of 2012. Both town councils have approved the terms of the contract, which is expected to be announced formally on Friday. The total amount of the contract was not made public.
Glen Ridge Mayor Peter Hughes said the negotiations were orchestrated with the idea of maintaing good relationships with both neighbors, but he said he warned Bloomfield from the beginning that a tie would go to Montclair, which has been providing service for two decades. “We told them [Bloomfield], you’ve got to knock them off the block.”
He said that during the qualification round, Glen Ridge visited all the fire houses in Bloomfield, met all the fire chiefs and battalion commanders. “Both departments were extremely capable,” he said. “It came down to price.” He said the final bids were submitted in sealed envelopes with town managers present.
But Mayor Raymond McCarthy told Bloomfield life that he thinks Montclair got a sneak peak at
Montclair’s Bloomfield’s final bid. Hughes pointed out that the meeting with the sealed envelopes made any cheating impossible.
“He’s very disappointed,” Hughes said of McCarthy. “They put it in an excellent bid. The town that got the award was the one that wanted it the most.”
“This has been a long, drawn-out, tough battle,” Montclair Fire Chief Kevin Allen told the Montclair Council last night. “We had competition this year from Bloomfield, we overcame that, and we have another 10 years to look forward to serving Glen Ridge and the fire department is very proud of that.”