LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen authorized the town manager to pursue a contract with a New Gloucester assessing firm, John O’Donnell & Associates. The contract will be brought back to the board at its next meeting.

Town Manager Jim Chaousis said requests for proposals were put out to an array of service providers.

He received six proposals consisting of part-time employment considerations and conducted interviews.

O’Donnell is requesting $25,000 per year for the part-time service that includes less hours than the last assessing firm. Chaousis was not satisfied with the former firm and terminated it as of Nov. 30.

That firm provided assessing services once a week and O’Donnell’s service would be once every other week, he said.

O’Donnell’s price is more than the town has traditionally paid, he said, but the firm is well worth the additional money.

Up until two years ago, the town had appropriated $22,000 for the previous seven years, Chaousis said. Last year, $19,000 was appropriated and this year, $20,000.

The firm was started by John O’Donnell Jr. in 1961. John O’Donnell III is the president of the firm that provides services to 30 towns in Maine, according to its Web site. Jay and Livermore are among its clients.

Chaousis said both towns gave the firm “extremely high recommendations.”

He recommended selectmen approve O’Donnell to serve the town’s assessing needs.

“It’s a tough line of work,” John O’Donnell III said. “We’ve always been interested in pursuing Livermore Falls as a client.”

There is an assessment system in place in Livermore Falls and that should be maintained, O’Donnell said. His firm’s assessors could learn the mechanics of the system and over time, make recommendations on what direction the town should take to equalize property values, he said.

Select board Chairwoman Louise Chabot said she was impressed with the information the firm has already provided.

“An accurate assessment is so important,” Selectman Jim Collins said.

Selectman Bill Demaray suggested they pursue a six-month contract through June 30 for budgeting purposes. If all goes well and money is appropriated in the 2010-11 budget, the town will pursue a longer contract.

In other business, Chaousis announced that he hired Robert Overton of Chesterville as the new code enforcement officer. Overton will be paid $16 an hour. He will be on probation for a year, and after he is certified, he will be paid $17 an hour.

Chaousis said he received 12 resumes and interviewed five candidates.

Overton will start Tuesday and work no more than 10 hours a week.

In another matter, the board also voted to sell the 1991 GMC Topkick plow and sanding truck to Scott Howard of Mercer for $5,810. The other bidder was Charles L. Hippler Jr. of Manchester for a bid of $5,555.

Hippler was awarded the bid for the 1989 wheeler truck for his bid of $4,100. He was the only bidder.

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