Voters meet to talk budget

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LIVERMORE FALLS – Residents voted 43-33 to transfer up to $30,000 from the town’s undesignated fund to go with $100,000 appropriated in July to bid on Farmington’s 1988 ladder truck at a special town meeting Tuesday.

That vote by a show of hands followed a secret ballot vote of 43-36 to reject the Budget Committee’s recommendation to not bid on the Farmington aerial. Instead, the panel would like the town to develop a capital improvement plan for the Fire Department to address at minimum such items as long-term major equipment needs and how to fund them and other matters.

The panel also wanted the department’s existing ladder truck to be repaired and certified.

Fire Chief Ken Jones said Farmington’s ladder truck, which has about 100 hours on the engine and about 12,000 miles, is an excellent deal, and if voters did not approve the extra funding to bid on it, it would be a loss to the town and the fire service.

He said at any given time, multiple aerial trucks are needed at fires in the area. He read a few supporting letters from chiefs and from the manager of the biomass plant and spoke from his own experience of working at Wausau Paper, an older paper mill that would need numerous aerial trucks to fight a fire if there was one.

Voters also approved transferring $50,000 from the undesignated fund to keep the transfer station operating at the same level of services and cover more trash disposal and tipping fees.

Initially, Town Manager Martin Puckett said $10,000 would be needed to keep the service operating but after closer scrutiny submitted the recommendation of $50,000 Tuesday to voters.

Voters rejected a citizen-initiated recall ordinance of elected officials in a 41-30 vote.

Voters did approve transferring $9,900 from the undesignated fund to match a $198,000 grant to buy a new pumper-tanker truck.

In all, residents voted to take nearly $90,000 from the surplus account to cover proposed expenditures.

Any money not used would go back into the general fund at the end of the year, unless voters choose to carry it over for a specific purpose or account.

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