Voters approve new fire truck at special town meeting

By Gabriel Blodgett | Feb 05, 2020
Photo by: Gabriel Blodgett Voters approved a new fire truck and Board of Appeals Ordinance at a special town meeting Feb. 4.

Appleton — Residents voted to approve the purchase of a new tanker fire truck and enact a new Board of Appeals Ordinance at a special town meeting.

At the Feb. 4 meeting at the Appleton Village School, 39 residents also approved several other articles related to the fire truck and Board of Appeals, along with a pay raise for members of the volunteer Fire Department, a new contract for phone and internet and an article allowing the Select Board to spend federal or state grant money.

Select Board Chairman John Fenner said that specific votes were not counted but each article “passed by quite a large margin.”

Article 2 was approved to enact the “Town of Appleton Board of Appeals Ordinance,” which Fenner said reestablished the board in compliance with state regulations. The new ordinance includes amendments giving the Board of Appeals the power to grant variances for set-backs and changes to accommodate disabilities.

Article 3 retroactively ratified all decisions of the Board of Appeals prior to the special town meeting.

Article 4 authorized the Select Board to purchase a Ferrara/International 3000-gallon tanker for the Fire Department at an estimated cost of $356,561. Fenner said the current tanker’s engine gave out in the fall and the department has been operating without one since then.

As part of the article, voters approved securing a loan from First National Bank not to exceed $306,561 with a fixed interest rate of 2.53%. The town will provide a down payment of $50,000 from the Fire Truck Reserve Account and will make annual payments of $42,640 for the next eight years.

That represents an increase of $7,140 from the town’s current annual payment of $35,500. Fenner said that amount has been going to the town’s forestry fire truck, which has recently been paid off.

Voters also authorized the board to sell the old tanker truck, a 1978 Ford F800 Tanker, by sealed bid and put the funds from the sale in the Fire Truck Reserve Account.

Voters approved Article 7, which will increase pay for members of the Volunteer Fire Department in accordance with the the state minimum wage.

Firefighters will now receive $12 for every meeting attended and $12 for each call hour with a $12 minimum for each call responded to. That is up from $11 for each instance.

Article 8 allows the board to spend money “received from federal and state grants or programs or other sources during the fiscal year for town purposes,” provided that they do not require the use of town funds that have been appropriated previously.

The last article allowed the Select Board to enter into a three-year contract with Tidewater Telecom to provide the town with internet and phone service, which Fenner said should increase internet speed.

The meeting was moderated by Gary Sukeforth.

Fenner previously said the Select Board chose to call the special town meeting now, as opposed to waiting until June, because of the urgency of beginning the buying process for the new fire truck and the importance of having an up-to-date Board of Appeals Ordinance.

 

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