Ladder truck goes to Pennsylvania with condition

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FARMINGTON – Selectmen awarded the town’s ladder truck to a Pennsylvania fire company with a condition Tuesday, ending a four-month bidding contest that included Livermore Falls.

Selectman Bill Demaray brought a $20,000 check from Livermore Falls as a down payment on the low-mileage 1988 truck, hoping the the town board would accept the lower offer.

But it was turned down because Greenock Volunteer Fire Co. of Greenock, Pa., was willing to pay more, which benefited Farmington taxpayers, and it upholds the integrity of the bidding process, Farmington selectmen said.

They gave the Pennsylvania company seven days to accept the condition that final payment be received by March 22, the day Farmington’s new truck is scheduled to arrive.

Farmington put the E-One ladder truck up for bid in September after ordering a new $850,000 combination pumper-ladder truck. Part of the plan was either selling or trading in the ladder truck for at least $100,000.

The bids came back Jan. 5 and Greenock offered $118,000. The company stipulated several conditions, including 60 days to inspect the truck and maintenance records and payment in full contingent on the sale of its ladder truck.

Since the truck was bought through a broker, a 4 percent fee would be paid, leaving the town $113,280, Town Manager Richard Davis said.

Livermore Falls bid $105,000 with the condition that Farmington maintain the truck as it has been. Livermore Falls voters raised the pool to $130,000 last week. No broker’s fee would be deducted since the two fire chiefs worked directly with each other.

“It’s no secret we want the truck,” Demaray told Farmington selectmen. He commended the fire chiefs for working together through the process.

“We’re serious about the truck,” Demaray said, calling it a “great asset” and saying it would be nice to keep it in the community.

They have the money, he said, and if their bid is accepted they would put $20,000 down Tuesday.

“I’d like to see the truck go to a neighboring town,” Farmington Selectman Charles Murray said, but the bid process is cut and dry. The town puts items up for bid all the time, he said, and it is necessary to uphold the credibility of the bid process.

Farmington Selectman Stephan Bunker agreed with Murray, saying they were trying to do what is in the best interest of their townspeople.

Davis recommended selectmen set a March 22 deadline for payment, and if the Pennsylvania company doesn’t agree to that then selectmen could either rebid the truck or accept Livermore Falls’ offer.

“To preserve the integrity of the bid process, you have to accept the highest bid,” Davis said. It would be unfair to the volunteer company if they didn’t, he said.

Farmington officials agreed but said they would contact Livermore Falls officials if the other bidder doesn’t accept the conditions.

Demaray said Livermore Falls selectmen will meet Monday, Jan. 22, to discuss the next step. One option is to see if there is another truck somewhere or ask taxpayers to transfer the money to an equipment account.

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