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Rumford ladder truck out of commission
RUMFORD -- Corrosion has taken its toll on the fire department's 1990 E1 aerial ladder truck, which will remain out of commission unless the Board of Selectmen support the expenditure of $65,000 in repairs.
At Thursday's meeting however, the board did not wish to spend that kind of money because it would guarantee other issues with the truck, due to be replaced in six years.
Instead, Board Chairman asked Fire Chief Bob Chase "to talk to other communities to see what we can work out."
Chase said he has a "level of discomfort" in not having the ladder truck available, but believes neighboring communities like Mexico and Dixfield will continue to support Rumford as needed.
Selectman Jeremy Volkernick said having the mutual aid fire departments assisting Rumford for a period of time will allow the town the time to come up with a plan to move forward. He asked Chase to come up with a plan by summer for Rumford to obtain an effective ladder truck.
Had selectmen favored paying for the cost, Town Manager Carlo Puiia indicated that this kind of capital expense would have required approval by citizens at a special town meeting.
Chase said their ladder truck had 14 years of wear in the big city, often on salt-covered streets during the winters, resulting in corrosion now which runs along the underside of the truck up into the chassis. Rumford purchased the truck eight years ago.
He said used ladder trucks are few and far between, with prices from $450,000 to $750,000, with no guarantee as for their longevity.
Buccina said this would present a great opportunity to regionalize with a town(s) instead of spending the high cost needed for a replacement, and "save us a lot of money."
The timing for regionalization talks is right, according to Chase, because "both Andover and Mexico are going to be looking for a ladder in a short time."
Dixfield recently purchased a used ladder truck, so that town should be okay for some time.
At an earlier meeting, selectmen authorized the expenditure of up to $11,000 for repairs for the truck. But while it being repaired, it was learned that there are more repairs needed. He had the work stopped until the board can assess the situation.
Chase said the initial repairs were needed to rectify safety issues due to rapid deterioration of gears associated with the aerial's turntable, which allows it to rotate 360 degrees. The problem was discovered during a recent inspection.
In other business, selectmen approved the bid of $7,351 from Bergeron Protective Clothing. The town will purchase five sets of hitch gear for the fire department from the capital budget.
Chase said that to this point, the department has virtually no backup gear. They have order three or four sets a year over the last three years as the department has seen an uptick on their roster.
Puiia announced that 6 p.m. meetings for initiated article requests will take place on Monday and on March 19 in the Rumford Falls Auditorium. The board, as instructed by the town charter, will also vote on the requests the evening they are presented.
Selectmen voted to hold a public hearing for the town cable television ordinance at 6:30 p.m. on March 15, then could ratify a 10-year agreement with Time Warner at their regular selectmen's meeting that follows.