After sorting out confusion over a warrant article that did not include a reference to the down payment amount, a dozen Woodstock voters Tuesday approved the lease purchase of a 2016 pumper/tanker truck for the Fire Department.

The special Town Meeting was called because the WFD’s 1987 pumper truck had failed a pump test, and an estimated $50,000 would have been needed for that and other repairs. Town officials did not want to buy a used truck out of concern they would not know if the pumper had previously been used to pump sandy water, possibly damaging it.

The total purchase price for the new truck is $218,944. Selectmen proposed a $90,000 down payment, to be taken from the Reserve Account, and five years of annual payments of $28,047 each.

The warrant article asked only for authorization for a lease purchase agreement “in an amount not to exceed $128,000.”

As the meeting started the selectmen and Town Manager Vern Maxfield said the figure in that wording had been transposed from $218,000. A dollar amount cannot be amended up if it is part of the body of the article, Maxfield said.

But the approval vote could still go forward because the $128,000 referred to the total of the annual payments (though not exactly), the officials decided.

Resident George Hooper expressed concern about voting without all the numbers in front of him in writing. Maxfield then produced the paperwork showing the calculations, and said he would include them in the minutes of the meeting.

The annual payments could either be raised each year or taken from the Reserve Account, which now typically has $30,000 a year added to it, town officials said.

Bill Seames wanted to know why the decision couldn’t wait til the next annual Town Meeting, especially with a mutual aid agreement with Greenwood and other towns. Fire Chief Kyle Hopps said that type of truck is too important for fighting fires, and mutual aid responses can take 25 minutes, depending on firefighter availability.

Hank Forman worried what would happen if another truck had a serious failure within a couple of years. Hopps said the WFD could probably get by for a time without the other trucks.

After about 45 minutes of discussion the article was approved. Also approved was authorization to sell the 1987 truck.

The voters also approved $18,000 to cover the cost of closing in the front of the pole shed next to the Fire Station, as well as installing four overhead doors and a concrete slab floor.

Selectmen said the improvements are needed because in March a catalytic converter was stolen from a fire truck parked in the shed.

Judy Seames supported the proposal, noting that the layout of the driveways at the station/Town Office do not lend themselves to gating the area off. “We might as well protect our equipment as we can,” she said.

At the regular selectboard meeting that preceded the Town Meeting, the board discussed a proposed purchase next year of a new plow truck. Maxfield had obtained an estimate of $160,000, which they all agreed was a favorable one, but the board asked Maxfield to also get other estimates since there is plenty of time.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: