Edward Hastings IV, chief of Livermore Falls Fire Department, explains the need to replace a 1988 ladder truck Tuesday at a meeting at the Town Office. Budget Committee Chairman Tom Barker, left, and secretary and co-spokesperson Carole Barker listen. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen voted Tuesday to hold a special town meeting March 25 to ask voters to consider to using Fire Department reserve account funds to buy a combination pumper and platform aerial to replace the 1988 ladder truck.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Office.

Fire Chief Edward Hastings IV explained to residents the problems with the ladder truck, which has been out of service for all but 12 days since Dec. 4, 2019. It’s parked because one of four stabilizers used when the 110-foot ladder is extended is broken. The department has spent nearly $37,000 on repairs to the truck since 2017, he said.

Hastings said his truck maintenance budget is overspent by about $6,500 and to fix the stabilizer would cost about $1,700. It would not address about 25 more deficiencies, he said. The department’s budget as a whole has not been exceeded, he said.

Hastings has found two used aerial platform trucks.

There is about $104,775  in the Fire Department’s reserve accounts. Of that amount about $65,900 is for self-contained breathing apparatus packs and about $38,875 is in the general reserve account.

Voters set up a reserve account in 2012 to replace air packs, starting with $12,960. They continued to add to it. The title of the reserve account changed to general reserve account about three years ago.

Hastings said air bottles on air packs need to be replaced. The bottles were bought in 2006 and last about 15 years, he said. They will expire in 2021-22 and cost $800 each. There would be about 30 bottles to be replaced along with some fittings, he said. To replace the complete system would cost about $118,000 for 15 complete self-c0ntained breathing apparatus, he said.

If the town continues to put away money for the next two years there would be enough to buy the bottles.

The department cannot apply for a grant to buy air packs because there is a reserve fund set aside for them, he said.

One option for a truck is a 2004 E-One with a 100-foot aerial platform and a 500-gallon water tank in Alabama for $100,000, which firefighters favor.

The second option is a 1994 Pierce truck with with a 100-foot aerial platform and a 200-gallon water tank for $35,000. It’s being used by a fire department in Vermont until July when a new truck arrives.

Greenwood Emergency Services in Brunswick owns the 1994 truck. The company is willing to wipe out the $8,996 repair bill for the last repairs and give the company the ladder truck if the town buys a truck it owns, Hastings said.

The 1988 truck will be put on an international auction site, if voters approve the purchase,  he said.

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