WOODSTOCK – Town officials announced Tuesday that the fire department is beginning a fundraising project to buy an ice rescue sled.

Town Manager Vern Maxfield said the department has decided to raise the $5,000 outside the regular annual budget.

“The department personnel feel the sled is needed as we have two major bodies of water in town. Both bodies are popular during the ice fishing and snowmobile season,” he said. “Because of this the men have made it clear immediate response is key to saving lives if someone goes through the ice. Having a sled available at our station will help save lives if emergencies on Lake Christopher or North Pond occur.”

Maxfield also stated that one $500 donation has already been offered and will be doubled when the department reaches a matching amount.

The towns of Andover and Oxford have ice sleds.

The Woodstock Fire Department is also working on a fire alarm ordinance, which will be designed to cut down on calls to false alarms in private homes. Members said they have had multiple calls to residences where alarms have been proven to be faulty and needing repairs. The ordinance will levy a fine of $350 after three calls because of faulty equipment and will mandate immediate repair or replacement of the alarm system.

The ordinance will need to be approved by the voters at town meeting next March.

Finally, selectmen began reviewing a rough draft of the 2006 annual budget and, as reported by Maxfield, the early proposal shows a probable 9 percent increase in taxes to be raised.

“Right now, 9 percent looks like what we’re going to have to go with, but there will most likely be some changes made before we have a final figure. It is doubtful that the final figure will be any lower, but the board hopes to keep from any increase beyond the nine percent,” he said.

The final figure is expected to be set by early to mid-February.


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