Farmington Selectmen June 25 approved moving forward with plans to replace one fire truck and repairing a second to get a few more years of service from it. Pictured from left during the vote are Selectmen Michael Fogg, Stephan Bunker, Chairman Joshua Bell, Town Manager Richard Davis and Selectmen Scott Landry and Matthew Smith. Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden

 

FARMINGTON — Issues with two Fire and Rescue vehicles and how best to address them were discussed by members of the department and Selectmen Tuesday night, June 25.

The Selectmen voted unanimously to obtain quotes on the cost of replacing Engine 1, then put the proposed purchase before voters in a November referendum, and to get the true cost of keeping Engine 2 road worthy for the next five years.

Engine 1 is a 2002 vehicle with frame and electrical issues. Estimated costs to replace it, provided by three different vendors, are between $675,000 and $790,000.

Engine 2 is a 1995 vehicle due to be replaced in 2020. Its pump and plumbing need replacing, estimated at up to $75,000. Estimates to replace it are between $565,000 and $690,000.

Tower 3, purchased in 2007, is scheduled for replacement in 2030.

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There is $354,551.89 in the fire apparatus equipment reserve account.

Replacing both trucks at once would provide new units with an estimated life of 20 – 25 years each. Using the reserve account funds and bonding the remainder for 10 years would see the bond paid off prior to replacement of Tower 3. The department could also begin putting funds into the reserve account in anticipation of the Tower 3 replacement.

Delaying replacement of Engine 2 would use up all of the equipment reserve funds. If a bond were used for the remaining cost of replacing Engine 1, money that could go towards the reserve account might be used for bond costs, leaving no money set aside when Engine 2 needs replacing. It could also result in less money set aside for Tower 3 replacement.

Selectman Chairman Joshua Bell said he had a concern with both trucks being on the same replacement cycle.

Town Manager Richard Davis asked why trucks with a 25 life expectancy are only lasting 16 or 17 years.

Fire Rescue Chief Terry Bell said it could be because of what is put on the roads in winter.

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“The metals used (in the frame) may not be the same,” he said.

Captain TD Hardy said they didn’t realize what salt was going to do to trucks. Lead was taken out of paint in that era.

“Each of the three vendors we approached has a different way to prevent that. They’re galvanizing a lot of stuff,” he said.

Selectman Michael Fogg said once the galvanize is knocked off, the steel underneath will rust.

Davis said replacing both trucks now makes the most sense.

Hardy said one company had offered to go over Engine 2 to get a more realistic estimate of what would be needed to keep it on the road. Driving it there would allow them to put it on the lift and check out all the systems. It would cost a couple hundred dollars.

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Selectman Scott Landry said the public would be happier with a repair of Engine 2.

Selectmen Matthew Smith and Michael Fogg agreed.

Selectman Stephan Bunker said he would replace both if money were no option.

“Replacing two will be a harder sell,” he said.

Davis said if the town could put $200,000 in the reserve account in each of the next five years there would be $1 million available for Engine 2 replacement.

He noted the town had lost close to $2 million in revenue sharing in the last several years.

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“We’re getting back to where we should be. We use revenue sharing to hold our mil rate down, offset some of the costs of operating the town.

“If we have to buy equipment the mil rate is going to increase.

“I’d rather have 5% revenue sharing, but I’ll take 3%.

“Maybe we can get UMF to contribute. These trucks benefit them,” he said.

 


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