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Rockland seeks grant to replace fire truck

By Stephen Betts | Jan 12, 2021
Photo by: Rockland Fire Department

Rockland — The Rockland City Council gave the go-ahead Jan. 11 for the city manager to apply for a federal grant that could help the city replace a pumper truck in the fire department.

The Council voted 5-0 at its Jan. 11 meeting to authorize an application for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The deadline for filing the application is Feb. 12 and a decision could be done by September.

The new truck would replace the 1990 International pumper truck, Rockland Fire Chief Christopher Whytock told councilors during the online meeting. The new truck would be able to carry 750 gallons of water and also carry emergency equipment, such as the Jaws of Life.

A previous study done for the city concluded that the 1990 pumper should be replaced in 2016.

The cost of the truck is estimated at $670,000 and the councilors agreed to match up to 10% of the cost.

The chief said FEMA awards the grants on a scoring system. He said last year, the city came close and he said if the city were to do a greater match than the 5% proposed last year, Rockland could be successful.

The department has received grants in prior years for equipment such as air packs.

At the Jan. 11 meeting, the City Council also give final approval to a six-month moratorium on tearing down buildings in the downtown and Tillson Avenue district. The proposal originated last year when there was a proposal to tear down 279 Main St. to create a downtown commercial parking lot.

That concern is gone, now that Stuart and Marianne Smith have purchased the building and will restore it to create a Maine Sport Outfitters store.

The moratorium will allow the Rockland Historic Preservation Commission time to review buildings in these areas to see which ones should be preserved.

The vote was 4-1 with Councilor Louise MacLellan Ruf opposed. She said she was not a supporter or moratoriums.

The Council voted unanimously to extend the down district to include 1 Park Drive. That change will allow for Park Street Grille to move into space at the Maine Lighthouse Museum.

At the Jan. 11 meeting, Mayor Ed Glaser pointed out that the city has a vacancy on the Knox County Budget Committee. He said anyone interested in serving on the budget committee can contact himself, other councilors, the city manager or city clerk.

The city has two slots on the budget committee and in November Tom Marshall Jr. did not seek re-election and there were no candidates.

In other action at the Jan. 11 meeting, the Council approved the sale of two tax-acquired properties

The Council voted to to sell 24 Knott St. to Crystal Woodcock for $15,023.

The city acquired the property in March 2019 from the Mark Morey estate for non-payment of taxes.

The property is nearly a quarter acre with a 960-square-foot ranch with five rooms including three bedrooms and a bath. The city has the property assessed at $141,800.

The Council voted to sell 24 Franklin St. to Easton Group LLC for $69,000.

The house is a two-story 1,565-square-foot building on a quarter acre. The city has the house and land assessed at a total of $160,400. The house has eight rooms, including three bedrooms and two bathrooms. There is an attached garage. The property extends to Edwards Street.

Code Enforcement Officer Adam Ackor said that last year, the building would need a complete renovation inside.

The property had been owned by Georgia Mahonen. She went into a nursing home and the family was not interested in keeping the property, according to the city.

When the city sells property, the city issues only quit-claim deeds, meaning the city quits its claim to any interest in the property. The city does not issue a warranty deed which means there could be other outstanding claims on the property. This is why the city accepts far less than the assessed values of the properties.

The city manager also told councilors Jan. 11 that the city had a house at 375 Pleasant St., which was also tax acquired — torn down because it was such poor condition. He said the city would seek bids soon on the land — about a half acre.

At the Jan. 11 meeting, the Council also accepted a donation of $1,095 from the First Universalist Church to help offset the cost of municipal services.

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Ronald Dyer | Jan 14, 2021 12:09

The last pumper that my Dad Walt Dyer, bought for the department when he was Fire Chief in 1979 cost $35 grand and carried 1000 gals.

Ron Dyer

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Jan 13, 2021 08:31

WOW! our Fire Department keeps the trucks in tip top shape!  THANK YOU


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