June 21, 2004
Final Bids for Central Aroostook Office Announced
“The governor and legislature created the new Department to improve access and to reduce duplication of efforts,” said DHS Commissioner John R. Nicholas. “The new office will mean better services for the people of Central Aroostook County and a lower overall cost to the state taxpayer.”
The four proposals were submitted by Aroostook Centre, LLC of Presque Isle; Caribou Management Co, LLC of Caribou; EHS Enterprises, LTD of Caribou; and Maysville Street Associates of Presque Isle.
The initiative to co-locate office space of the Departments of Human Services and Behavioral and Developmental Services is underway throughout the state. Later this year, staff from both DHS and BDS will be successfully located at one office in Sanford. A proposal to combine the Thomaston BDS office with the Rockland and Belfast DHS offices at one central location in the mid-coast area is also receiving serious consideration. There are additional co-locations planned in later years, as the expiration dates on more leases come due.
Beginning later this week, a five-person panel will review the four proposals that have been received. The panel includes two representatives from the Bureau of General Services (within the Department of Administrative and Financial Services), one representative each from the former Departments of Human Services and Behavioral and Developmental Services, and Commissioner Nicholas’ Director of Special Projects. The panel will conduct site visits for the four proposals during the week of June 29. A final decision is expected the week of July 19.
“The goal in this process,” Commissioner Nicholas added, “is not to maintain offices in every town where we’ve previously had offices. Rather, the goal is to provide clients with a single point of entry for all department services in a way that can save taxpayer dollars.”
The creation of the Department of Health and Human Services is anticipated to save the state $5.8 million for the biennial budget ending June 2005.
The proposal to unify the Presque Isle BDS office and the Caribou DHS office will continue to follow the standard competitive bid process. The process began back in May when a request for proposal was published. The state held a conference on May 26 for all parties interested in submitting a bid, as well as members of the public who were interested in the proposal. At this conference, state officials explained the structure of the proposal and allowed all attendees an opportunity to ask questions. Subsequent to this conference, two publications were distributed to all attendees providing additional information about the bidding process and the proposal.