LIVERMORE FALLS — Residents at a special town meeting Tuesday approved spending $33,150 to determine the engineering work necessary to repair and upgrade the Fire Station.

The funds will provide estimated construction costs to correct deficiencies in the high bay portion of the station, as well as a preliminary design and estimate for enlarging the two smaller front bays to accommodate Fire Department vehicles.

Residents turned down another option on the warrant, costing $21,150, to provide a preliminary design and cost estimate for a new two-bay “branch” fire station in the East Livermore area. The town would share Jay’s south fire station.

Resident Scott Roberts asked why the town was spending money to fix the station at the same time it was trying to regionalize its fire service with Jay. He said it will take a long time for the two towns to regionalize the service, if they chose to do so.

Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Louise Chabot said that voting in favor of the design and cost estimate for the East Livermore substation, in addition to sharing Jay’s station, would give the town an additional advantage — constructing a station would provide better fire coverage, which would result in a better insurance rating for the town, she said.

Former Livermore Fire Chief Randy Berry, who at one time was a firefighter in Livermore Falls, presented a slideshow containing a regional study of the fire coverage area, depending on where the fire stations were positioned in Jay and Livermore Falls.

“I’m not here to tell you what to do,” he said.

Berry noted that insurance, or ISO ratings, are based on where the population of a town is in relation to the fire station. Ideally, all residents and businesses would be within a five-mile radius.

“I think we need to think about that, how what we do affects our neighbors and mutual-aid partners,” he said.

One resident asked how much it would cost to fix the Livermore Falls fire station and if that would cause property taxes to increase.

“Our property taxes will go up, no matter what we do,” Chabot responded.

Another resident asked if it would be feasible to contract with neighboring towns to provide fire coverage for East Livermore.

Acting Fire Chief Brian Dolloff said the town was already doing this through mutual aid.

“Mutual aid is free as long as you help each other out,” he said. “When you get into contracts, you’ll spend a lot more.”

Selectman James Collins said he was worried about regionalization of the Fire Department and the cost of doing so versus the level of service Livermore Falls would receive.

“This regionalization has so many unintended consequences, that I’m afraid of what might happen,” he said.

Selectman Ron Chadwick said he was in favor of getting the town’s existing fire station back in service. The town has already invested a lot of money in it, he said, and it’s costing the town extra to store the ladder truck off-site.

“If we decide not to rebuild or make that station structurally sound, that cost is going to continue,” he said.

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“Our property taxes will go up, no matter what we do.” — Livermore Falls Selectmen Chairwoman Louise Chabot


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