PERU — The Board of Selectmen voted 4-0 Tuesday evening to add an article to the June referendum ballot asking for $10,000 toward tearing down the Worthley Pond Fire Station and replacing it.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Lee Merrill brought up the issue with the Finance Committee, which met after selectmen.

Merrill said the fire station is “in pretty bad shape.”

“I asked Bill Hussey, our fire chief; he thought the building would last for another two years,” Merrill said. “He said he hopes so.”

A member of the Finance Committee asked Merrill how old the station is.

Merrill said it was built about 45 years ago, and the town needed to start looking at raising money toward a new building.

“I heard that it would be about $30,000 just to repair it, and even then, we’re stuck with the same size building as before,” Merrill said. “Our truck barely fits in that building as it is.

“If the fire station’s roof were to collapse, it could cave in on the roof of the firetruck, and then we’re looking at another problem,” he said. “I don’t think that it will necessarily happen, but we need to start thinking ahead, just in case.”

Merrill said the board had talked about putting together a committee to discuss what steps to take next in the event voters pass the article.

“We haven’t talked to Bill yet about any specific plans, but we’re looking at figuring out what steps we need to take next,” Merrill said.

Selectman Jim Pulsifer said $10,000 didn’t seem like much, but it would be a good place to start.

“This is being proactive,” Pulsifer said. “By starting ahead of time, instead of when the building is collapsing, we’re preparing ourselves. Plus, next year, we’re going to have some money that’s not going toward paying off our firetruck, so we’ll have a little money to play around with.”

The Finance Committee voted 5-0 to support the article, with the request that selectmen investigate what steps would be taken if the article is approved in June.

Selectmen told the Finance Committee they wanted to place an article on the June ballot asking voters whether the town clerk, treasurer, tax collector and road commissioner positions should be changed from elected to appointed.

Those officers are elected for three-year terms.

Merrill said the proposed change would allow the board to hire individuals who are the most qualified, instead of relying on the popular vote.

“Let’s say that my wife runs for the town clerk position against Vera (Parent), and she gets elected this year,” Merrill said. “My wife doesn’t know anything about that particular line of work, but since she was elected by the people, she has the job. If we were able to appoint people, we can make sure they’re qualified for that position.”

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