LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen voted 3-1 Monday to buy two pieces of communications equipment from Durham for $1,600 as part of the switch to having the county dispatch local police, fire and ambulance personnel next month.

The two modules are being added to the radio console at the Androscoggin County Communications Center in Auburn, allowing dispatchers to reach Livermore Falls emergency workers when the switchover occurs Nov. 23.

Durham paid $3,200 for the modules, Town Manager Jim Chaousis said.

Selectman Bill Demaray opposed the vote.

“I don’t think we should have to incur any cost. I think we already paid for it,” Demaray said, referring to the town paying county taxes.

Residents voted Sept. 3 to eliminate the town’s dispatch center and have the Androscoggin County Sheriff Department’s provide the service. The town’s dispatchers will stay on for one week after the transfer to ensure a smooth transition.

Randall Greenwood, a county commissioner from Wales, is expected to attend the Oct. 19 selectmen’s meeting to discuss the county taking over the services, Chaousis said.

Selectmen also voted to accept a job description for an administrative assistant for the Police Department when dispatch closes.

Dispatchers currently have a lot of other responsibilities that assist police besides dispatching, Chaousis said, including creating reports. The nonunion position would pay between $10 and $13 an hour with the cost of wages and benefits to be in a range of $30,000 to $37,000, depending on what health plan is chosen, he said.

The base salary for a dispatcher is about $25,000 a year and combined with benefits is about $35,000.

The administrative assistant would also go to the courts in Auburn and Lewiston for arraignments rather than police officers, Chaousis said, which would allow police to continue to patrol the town and eliminate overtime.

Resident Scott Roberts objected to the position.

The people voted to eliminate dispatch, he said. He also said there was no discussion or vote on municipal officers adding the position to the Police Department. The savings from closing dispatch was to go to reduce taxes next year, he said. He warned them about the economic situation next year with the mill closed.

It was said from the beginning that an administrative assistant would be needed for police if dispatch closed, Chaousis said.

In other business, selectmen voted to spend $3,971 to upgrade the phone system with the current provider, National Telephone & Technology. The new phones will have voice mail and other modern technology.

The board also directed Chaousis to make sure there is handicap parking and accessibility to the recreation field.

Resident Richard Korhonen said with the new bike and walk path being installed that handicap accessibility is gone.

“I challenge why a handicap person would need to get down to the rec field,” Chaousis said. He clarified that he meant that going down the steep embankment was not the best way for them to go.

Korhonen said there was a paved path for handicap accessibility that his late wife used to go down to see the kids play.
That path and handicap parking spots will be put back, Chaousis said Tuesday. They also plan to look at ways to increase parking at the field.

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