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Rumford voters okay agreement for fire truck
RUMFORD -- A small group of taxpayers attending Monday's annual business meeting approved authorizing selectmen to negotiate with neighboring Mexico in a purchase agreement for a quint fire truck to be shared among the two towns.
Some 50 citizens approved the measure following about 20 minutes of discussion. The agreement, which must also be approved by Mexico taxpayers, includes the share in the cost by the two towns as well as the annual share for the maintenance cost and towards the future replacement.
Resident Jim Windover began discussion by asking what Rumford's portion of the expense would be and if it includes maintenance costs.
Fire Chief Bob Chase responded that the cost share for the purchase and maintenance will be 80 percent Rumford, 20 percent Mexico, which is reflected in the assessed value of the two towns, the population and the ladder usage.
On April 30, Chase and Mexico Fire Chief Gary Wentzell flew flew to Alabama to look at a 2008 Pierce quint fire truck -- an apparatus that serves the dual purpose of an engine and a ladder truck (105-foot ladder). Quint refers to the five functions it provides -- pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device, and ground ladders.
A month before, selectmen from Mexico and Rumford agreed unanimously in a straw poll to share in the purchase of a newer fire truck to replace aging ladder trucks in both fire departments.
When it came time to negotiate, the initial price tag was $599,000, but the salesman reduced it to $550,000. Also negotiated with the company, Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus of Union Grove, was paying $51,000 with a trade-in of Rumford's 22-year-old ladder truck, which has been out of service for a while as they opted not to make the $65,000 in repairs, as well as Mexico's 1995 Engine II. This would include picking up and transporting the vehicles.
Resident Emil Barre asked how long the warranty would be for truck.
The company is offering a two-year warranty, would letter the truck, put on better tires, add a pull-out tray for the large diameter hose and deliver.
Were the towns to purchase this truck, $430,000 would be paid by Rumford, with the remaining $70,000 through Mexico. Chase said he envisions the collection of $35,000 a year in an account for maintenance as well as toward the purchase of a replacement.
Chase said the money for Rumford's portion would come from monies approved in the capital reserve fund. He added, “I have an engine due in 2013 for replacement (Engine IV) and another one due in 2014 (tanker), and then the ladder, had it survived, was due four to five years thereafter, so we were looking at a million dollars in trucks potential for purchase in the next five to seven years.”
Chase said the purchase of the quint will fit into the existing capital plan because it would mean that Engine IV would not be replaced.
Resident Dan Richard said he heard that this truck had an overheating issue before the community sold it.
Chase said it did, but the issue was addressed with the warranty.
He said this is a very clean truck, very well accessorized (not stock) and they would like to get 20 years out of it.
However, Chase added while this might become the truck they purchase, they are keeping their options open and will continue their search for a quint fire truck.
Resident Arthur Boivin said he is favor of the two-town purchase of the truck. "Mexico and Rumford have had mutual aid for years. This takes it another step further. This is the way to go."
For the purchase of the quint, Chase said voters in both towns will first have to approve the proposed fire department budgets, as well as approve the two-town agreement on the cost share for a fire truck.
If those are approved, before a truck would be purchased, it would require updated certification for the ladder as well as a pump test.
Chase said their department has most all the equipment needed to outfit the quint. The truck would be housed in the temporary building in the municipal parking lot across the street from the Rumford Fire Department.
"This is an important step toward regionalizing and cost sharing," he noted.
Voters also approved the salaries for many of the municipal officials. The rest of the town meeting warrant, which includes a proposed $7,423,500 municipal budget and several ordinances, will be voted on through a referendum ballot that goes before voters from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the American Legion Hall. This year's municipal budget is up from this year's $6,849,208.
On that ballot, voters will act on 12 money articles, 26 initiated articles, and eight ordinance amendments. Charter and ordinance proposals include:
* Regulating use and sale of fireworks.
* Regulating domestic animals.
* Allowing selectmen to enter into multiyear contracts and grants.
* Amending the hawkers and peddlers, and taxi cab license regulations.
* Changing the dates for filing nomination papers.
* Adopting a Property Assessed Clean Energy ordinance that would allow low-interest loans for energy-saving projects.
* Exempting active duty military personnel who are residents of Rumford from excise taxes.
* Authorizing a Charter Commission.
* Providing a nonbinding opinion on whether to extend Lincoln Avenue.