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Mexico looking to purchase 2002 fire truck
MEXICO -- If voters approve, the town will trade two older fire trucks for a newer one, at a net cost of $119,000.
On April 9, the Mexico Board of Selectmen okayed the proposal by Fire Chief Gary Wentzell. With that, an article asking voters to approve a reduction of the Fire Department Reserve fund will be on the town meeting ballot in June.
The 2002 E-One Cyclone Custom Pumper would be purchased from from the Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus company in Alabama. The cost was $169,000, less the $50,000 trade-in value for their pumper and ladder truck, which the company would be picking up. They also agreed to hold truck the town would purchase until after the town meeting.
Town Manager John Madigan said that in order to purchase the firetruck as soon as possible, the town would have to borrow money, which would increase the town's debt. However, he explained that they would reduce the annual cost of the firetruck by reducing the Fire Department Reserve fund each year.
“The cost of our annual payment for the firetruck would be offset by reduction in the fire department reserve funds. The impact to the budget wouldn't be any more than it is right now. We would be able to pick up the truck now instead of waiting five or six or seven years to save up the money," he said.
The board lauded Wentzell's efforts in finding the firetruck.
Selectman George Byam said this truck was front Texas, so there are not any rusting issues. Further, it only has 43,000 miles and was used as an EMS response vehicle. "It has not seen a lot of fires."
“Sounds like a heck of a deal,” said Selectman Byron Ouellette.
“Gary said that this truck should last us long after he retires,” said Madigan.
It was also noted that the 2002 pumper will fit in the fire house.
In other business, selectmen unanimously voted to rescind delivery of a letter to the state Senate redistricting committee and replace it with a letter of support for Jay to switch to a Senate district with other Franklin County towns.
The earlier letter voiced their support for the Town of Jay to remain in Senate District 14, which includes Oxford County towns.
The board decided to rescind their original letter after hearing from Jay Town Manager Ruth Cushman, who attended the meeting to discuss her thoughts on the redistricting.
“Ten years ago, we were part of the Franklin County Senate District, and at that time, one of our selectmen was also in the House of Representatives, and he felt that it would be a good match for us to be a part of Senate District 14 instead," she said.
Cushman said the town of Jay currently finds themselves “on the outskirts of the things that are going on in Franklin County, which is where Jay actually is.”
“The selectmen asked me, contrary to rumors that have gone around me, to start the process to see if we could become part of the district that housed most of Franklin County. I typed a letter with their desires in it, they signed it and I sent it in,” she said.
Upon sending the letter, Cushman said she heard of a campaign going on "to keep us in Senate District 14. Now, we find ourselves in a situation where some of the towns over here have been approached to keep us in this Senate District, when in fact, we have an awful lot more in common with the towns in Franklin County. We'd like to go back home.”
Ouellette asked Cushman if it was up to the town of Jay or the redistricting committee to decide whether Jay switches Senate districts.
“It's up to the redistricting committee, but they take into account all letters and correspondence they receive,” Responded Cushman.
“I think that, as a town, you should be able to have control over where you go,” noted Ouellette.
Cushman said, “Well, you know what? We think that, too!”
Jim McHugh of the Oxford County Democratic Office in Mexico was also present. At the March 12 selectmen's meeting, McHugh initiated the request for the board to send a letter to the redistricting committee to have Jay remain in Senate District 14. At this meeting, McHugh asked Cushman to reconsider Jay's decision to switch over to a Franklin County district.
“I still feel that we have more in common with you than Franklin County. Between the gas line, the power plants and the paper mills. I feel that we'll be facing a lot of common problems in the near future,” he said.
Cushman responded, “We'd like to have our representation closer to home with the people that we feel we have more in common with.”
Selectman Peter Merrill said, “I think it would be proper to grant their wish, and let them join the district they feel at home in.” He made a motion that the board rescind their original letter of support to the redistricting committee.
Byam asked Cushman whether or not the town of Jay needed a letter of support for them to switch over to a Franklin County Senate district.
“Well, I didn't request it, but I'd love to have a letter of support,” said Cushman.
The board agreed to draft a letter.