MINOT — The annual town meeting opens Friday with a referendum on the proposed $536,000 Central Fire Station addition and the election of municipal officers.

The proposal for an expanded and improved fire station failed to gather support on the floor of the 2012 and 2013 town meetings. Presented with a request for a third hearing, selectmen this year decided to put the issue before voters at the polls.

Since the original Central Fire Station was built, services provided by the department have expanded to include rescue services. The result is inadequate space for both fire and rescue.

The proposed 44- by 64-foot addition would increase the floor area by about 50 percent.

It includes space for a standard-sized fire apparatus bay, a training/meeting room, a kitchen, toilets and shower, storage and office space, some of which could be converted into bunk space if the town moves to 24-hour coverage.

The addition would be financed over 10 years at an estimated annual cost of about $66,000.

“I realize there is no good time to spend money needed to meet the space needs of the department,” fire Chief Dean Campbell said, “but the cost of construction goes up every year.”

Selectmen took no position regarding the fire station addition. The Budget Committee recommended against it.

Residents will also elect one selectman and two representatives to the RSU 16 School Committee.

Running unopposed are Eda Tripp for selectman and Julie Rioux and Scott Tiner for the School Committee.

Polls will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at the Town Office.

The town meeting will reconvene at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 1, at the Minot Consolidated School gymnasium.

The amount requested to run town affairs stands at $1.55 million, which is slightly lower than the $1.58 million allocated for the year just ended.

Voters will be asked to approve two capital purchases: a forestry truck for the Fire Department and a plow truck for the Highway Department.

The Fire Department is seeking approval to purchase a new forestry truck to replace the 2001 truck.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee recommend against the purchase at this time.

The Highway Department is seeking approval to purchase a new plow truck to replace the 1998 International.

The town meeting warrant lists the cost for the new truck at $175,000, after trade-in. Town Administrator Arlan Saunders reported the cost to secure a plow truck, with all the features the town seeks, may be as low as $165,000.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee recommend voters approve the plow truck purchase and a plan to finance it over 4 years.

Voters will be asked to approve a $275,000 summer paving program, which this year is scheduled for Marston Hill Road, Death Valley Road from Harris Road to Brighton Hill Road, and Mountain View Drive, with all of these roads shimmed and overlaid with hot top. The town would raise $207,000 for the paving program, with the remaining $68,000 coming from the state’s local road assistance program.

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