LIVERMORE FALLS — Residents weighed in Tuesday on a proposal to build a one-bay, fire substation in East Livermore and pay a maximum of $400,000 over 20 years.

The issue will go before voters at the polls, which will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Fire Station.

Some of the 10 people who attended the public hearing said the station was needed for safety reasons and to lower homeowners’ insurance premiums, while others didn’t believe it would help and could cost taxpayers more money.

A petition signed by 110 registered voters requested an article be put on the ballot. It calls for selectmen to secure a site and provide for construction of a substation for one firetruck within a mile of Park Street/Route 133 and Leeds Road/Route 106 intersection. If passed, the article would also authorize selectmen to enter into a lease purchase or finance agreement for up to 20 years, with payments from taxes not to exceed $20,000 per year.

Resident Sheila Scanlon who lives in East Livermore, said the area has been built up and a lot of new homes have been added. The area is more than 5 miles from the Fire Station on lower Park Street/Route 133.

Fire Rescue Chief Edward Hastings IV said East Livermore is considered anywhere beyond Diamond Road heading toward Wayne.

Most of the fires are in the East Livermore area, including Pine Ridge Loop Mobile Home Park, Scanlon said. Several homes have burned before firefighters could arrive. It is in no way the Fire Department’s fault, she said.

The on-call department has no full-time members.

Residents in the park and in other places in East Livermore pay property taxes but don’t get all town services, including fire hydrants, Scanlon said.

“It’s like fairness of taxes,” she said.

The town should have the residents’ safety in mind,” she said.

The town owns an acre of land within a mile of the Route 106/133 intersection, interim Town Manager Amanda Allen said Wednesday.

Scott Roberts, who lives in East Livermore, asked Tuesday why there was a dollar amount in the article and a lease purchase option.

Without a funding amount in the article the Select Board does not have the authority to do anything, Hastings said.

Voters approved an article in June 2018 to look into building a fire station in East Livermore. A subsequent vote to use a maximum $10,000 in funds to do a feasibility study for a fire station on a tax-acquired property on Route 106 failed five months later.

Resident Jim Cyr said firefighters would lose time if they drove by the Livermore Falls fire station and went to East Livermore to pick up a firetruck. If a firefighter was coming from the Augusta end, they would get to the truck quicker than driving to the fire station and back.

One of the department’s firetrucks would be housed at the substation.

With no fire station within the 5-mile radius and no hydrant system within 1,000 feet,  people’s home insurance premiums are higher because of the Insurance Services Office rating, resident Carole Barker said.

The town has a split ISO rating of 5 in-town and 5Y in East Livermore, Hastings said. The major factors that go into the rate include a fire station within 5 miles and a water supply within 1,000 feet.

Cyr said he didn’t believe having a fire station in the area would help save homes since it is an on-call department.

Tom Barker, who also lives in East Livermore, said there are two firefighters in that area, including himself, who could drive the firetruck.

“I am looking at an increase in my taxes,” Cyr said.

“I’m talking about lives,” Scanlon said. “We are losing homes and belongings.” She asked if it would take a death to recognize a station is needed.

Another resident said safety is great but pointed out a multiple-story house less than a mile from the station was destroyed by fire.

The Fire Department’s average response time from October 2019 to October 2020, from the time a fire call was reported and firefighters arrived on scene was 8 minutes, 48 seconds in the downtown area, Hastings said. The average response time to the East Livermore area was 12 minutes, 47 seconds, he said.

Barker said $20,000 a year divided by the 1,800 taxpayers would equal a $12 increase in taxes.

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