LIVERMORE FALLS — Residents voted Tuesday night to finance upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant and to buy two police cruisers. They rejected a request for a new firetruck.

Livermore Falls residents vote Tuesday at a special town meeting at the Town Office. They approved buying two new police cruisers but not a new pumper-ladder truck. (Sun Journal photo by Donna M. Perry)

Residents approved appropriating $15,000 from the Police Department cruiser account toward a down payment on a lease or lease-purchase agreement for each of the cruisers over the next four years. They also authorized the Board of Selectmen to enter into a lease or lease-purchase agreement not to exceed $59,000 for the two cruisers over the next four years.

Police Chief Ernest Steward Jr. said the department wants to save money by buying two Ford Interceptors this year, because the body and engine are changing and the price is expected to increase next year.

When it came to purchase a new  pumper-ladder truck for up to $600,000, Budget Committee Chairman Jeff Roy motioned to amend the article to zero dollars. He said it would cost the town $50,000 a year for a loan to buy the truck, compared to $37,000 to repair the 1988 ladder truck and 1993 Engine 1.

“It is more fiscally sound,” Roy said.

Fire Chief Edward Hastings IV said repairs to trucks are not one-time fixes and will add up over time.

Some residents said the town couldn’t afford a new truck while also paying for renovations to the Fire Station.

“We just can’t afford it at this time,” former Selectman Ron Chadwick said. With interest, the station debt is about $800,000, he said.

Hastings said the $600,000 was for a new demonstration truck, but they could buy a good used one for about $300,000.

The motion to reduce the amount to zero dollars passed 32-23. An attempt to appropriate $350,000 for a used truck failed.

The Fire Department’s intent was to buy the combination truck and get rid of the ladder truck and Engine 1.

Voters authorized $4.98 million in loans, which includes $3.97 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and about $1 million from the Maine Municipal Bond Bank, to rebuild several pieces of equipment and make other upgrades at the treatment plant. The amounts do not include interest.

The remainder of the project is expected to be offset by nearly $1.5 million in grants and loan principal forgiveness.

Livermore Falls will pay 50 percent of the $5.75 million project and Jay will pay the other half.

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