HARTFORD — Selectmen decided Thursday night to arrange a meeting with Turner, Buckfield and Canton officials next week to discuss fire coverage for the town.
Last week, voters refused to raise more money in 2012-13 for public safety, which includes fire protection services from the three towns. Selectman Lee Holman said Friday that each of the three towns had asked for up 300 percent more in the fiscal year that begins July 1. Voters declined to appropriate nearly $60,000 for public safety, instead approving $35,798, the same as this year.
Canton fire Chief Shane Gallant asked selectmen Thursday night if Hartford voters realized what would happen if the budget was voted down.
Morrill Nason said he didn’t remember anyone telling townspeople at the annual town meeting June 14 what might happen to the town.
Selectman Jack Plumley said he told voters that without coverage, their property insurance premiums would skyrocket.
An attempt will be made to get officials from Buckfield, Canton and Turner to meet with selectmen at 7 p.m. Monday in the Hartford Town Hall to discuss what can be done.
Gallant said he realized that rates went up a lot from last year, but he figures Canton was paying for a lot of Hartford’s coverage.
“We really need our budget," Gallant said. "We cover 55 percent of Hartford.”
Gallant said it is a state law that towns provide public safety for their residents.
Hartford Selectman Lee Holman said one problem residents objected to was that Canton charges per person instead of per household.
“We need to negotiate,” she said.
Gallant said it should have happened months before. He said they possibly could come up with charging Hartford for each incident: manpower, $25 an hour; pumper, $200 an hour; tanker, $150 an hour.
Fire coverage for Hartford from the three towns ends July 1, so selectmen are hoping the June 25 meeting will resolve the issue.
In other news, the board signed the new General Assistance guidelines, after a brief public hearing. Selectmen also:
* Signed the sand contract with David Bragg.
* Decided that one selectmen could sign the warrant each week.
* Decided there was no need for employee reviews.
* Were notified that newly elected RSU 10 Director Shawn White would attend one selectmen's meeting a month.
* Agreed to winter road maintenance for Guerney Hill Road.