JAY — The town manager will update selectpersons on Monday, Dec. 28, about a committee’s latest meeting regarding the collaboration of fire services between Livermore Falls and Jay.

One option the committee is researching for long-term use is sharing Jay’s No. 2 Fire Station in Chisholm Village.

Two selectmen from each town, town managers and fire chiefs serve on the collaboration exploring fire service-sharing options.

Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere will also update selectpersons on the Livermore Falls selectmen’s Dec. 15 vote to hire Lincoln/Haney Engineering Associates Inc. of Brunswick to do a study for a minimal fix on the town’s fire station to make it insurable.

Jay’s meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Jay Town Office.

Firetrucks had to be out of the station as of Oct. 1 because of insurance requirements regarding structural deficiencies in the building.

LaFreniere will also inform the board that she became aware of a state grant for the efficient delivery of local and regional services that she had shared with the Jay and Livermore Falls joint committee exploring options to regionalize services on Dec. 15. The grant’s purpose is ultimately to save taxpayers money.

The state has up to $1.5 million available for these intergovernmental projects. Of the money available, $750,000 is available in each fiscal year of the state’s 2016-2017 biennium, LaFreniere said. These fiscal years end on June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017.

The state reserves the right to award grants in total or to divide the awards between the two state fiscal years. The deadline to submit a grant is at 2 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2016.

“We discussed options for collaboration going forward and the best option that we identified so far would be sharing (Jay) Station 2,” LaFreniere said in her memo to the board about the agenda.

The discussion took place prior to the Livermore Falls Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Dec. 15.

“This would mean that Livermore Falls would not have to fix their current station and would allow them to look into the option of establishing a station in the East Livermore (section of Livermore Falls),” she said. “It would also allow us to look at future consolidation of apparatus and manpower.

“The state grant that is available can be used to fund collaborative efforts that will ultimately save the taxpayers money,” LaFreniere said. “We discussed this and determined that the criterion of the grant fits with what we are looking at. Much of our discussion goes back to a report completed by fire service consultant Neil Courtney for the area fire services in 2006.”

The purpose for the study wasn’t to merge the five town fire departments into a single agency, but to preserve their autonomy while enhancing the delivery of services, Courtney had stated nine years ago.

The study encompassed Farmington, Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls and Wilton.

The report also made recommendations on fire stations, including having Jay and Livermore Falls integrate into a new single facility but maintaining department identities.

The report was actually funded through this same grant, LaFreniere said.

The analysis and suggestions in the report are still very accurate today and speak to collaborative efforts, she said.

“Our thoughts were to apply for the grant to implement some of the suggestions found in the report,” she said. “I spoke to Neil Courtney to find out his availability to possibly work with us and guide us through this process. He has just finished up another project and is available. It was our intent to apply for the grant to seek funding to pay for contracting with him.”

However, at the Livermore Falls board meeting on Dec. 15, “they voted to have an engineering study done to try to fix their current station, effectively putting an end to the efforts we were looking at,” she said. “Due to the timing of the grant submittal (Jan. 15) and their decision, it is unlikely that we will be submitting an application unless something changes and the (Livermore Falls) board reconsiders their decision.” 

dperry@sunmediagroup.net


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