Firetruck repairs approved at Special Town Meeting

By Gabriel Blodgett | Jan 07, 2020
Photo by: Gabriel Blodgett Hope residents authorized the Board of Selectmen to spend up to $20,000 to repair the pump on one of the town's two firetrucks at a Jan. 6 Special Town Meeting.

Hope — At a special town meeting, Hope residents voted to authorize the Board of Selectmen to spend up to $20,000 to fix the pump on one of the town’s two fire trucks.

At the Jan. 6 meeting at the Town Office, Mike Mayo was elected moderator and the 16 residents in attendance voted unanimously to authorize the necessary funds to be taken from the Unassigned Fund Balance.

The meeting was called to order by Town Clerk Chelsea Summers at 6:32 p.m. and lasted seven minutes.

At the Nov. 26 Board of Selectmen meeting, Hope Fire Chief Clarence Keller estimated the repairs will cost between $18,500 and $19,500. The truck has been out of service since November when it failed a pump test.

While the truck is being repaired, the town will borrow a fire truck from Camden, which will require Hope to make the insurance payments.

The board considered several alternatives including waiting until the March 3 election to make a decision, leasing the truck from Camden for $1,083 per month, or buying a new truck, but at the Dec. 23 meeting, ultimately chose to call a special town meeting to address the issue.

At the Nov. 26 meeting, there were several questions from the board regarding whether the town could continue to use the truck at less than its maximum pumping capabilities, but Keller cautioned that using the truck after it had failed the test would leave the town liable if anything went wrong while using the truck.

He said the repairs would likely allow the truck, which is approximately 20 years old, to last for another ten years.

The town currently keeps one truck at both the Hope and South Hope Fire Stations. Keller said it is necessary to keep a pumper truck within a five-mile radius of all the homes in Hope to maintain a strong residential insurance rating.

At the Dec. 10 meeting, the town’s auditor Bill Brewer recommended creating a reserve account for fire truck repairs so they could avoid holding a meeting in similar situations in the future.

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