Andover Selectmen Brian Mills, left, Joe Luce, center, and Mark Thurston speak Tuesday with Fire Chief Jim Adler, right, about the damaged Andover Hook and Ladder Co. building on Elm Street. A meeting on its condition is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 5. at the Town Hall. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

ANDOVER — Selectmen voted Tuesday to raise the property tax rate 50 cents, from $13.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $14.

Selectman Mark Thurston said the increase is due to less revenue from tree growth, less money from the state and using less money from surplus.

In other business, selectmen agreed to hold an informational meeting on the status of the Andover Hook and Ladder Co. building at 39 Elm St., which was acquired by the town by eminent domain in 2019. At that time, Selectman Brian Mills said it was taken because of its condition.

“We took it (thinking) that it was going to be for the general public’s use, meaning that our intent was to use it basically for display of historical items” and for other things,” he said at Tuesday’s meeting. However, the condition of the building “has changed dramatically this summer. Half of the roof, which you can’t see from the road, is pretty much gone,” he said.

The Andover Hook and Ladder Co. was established in 1890 as a firefighting force. Its 1904 station served the town until 1987 when a new station was built at 38 South Main St. The old two-story station, which is empty, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, according to maineanencyclopdeia.com.

Fire Chief Jim Adler, who owns a contracting business, recently viewed the building at the selectmen’s request.

“As a fire chief and as a contractor, the roof isn’t just sagging, the rafters have collapsed. So, right now that is an unsafe structure,” Adler told selectmen Tuesday. He recommended they have a licensed engineer check the structure to “tell you what you’re up against.”

A meeting on the building will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Town Hall.

In other news, Jackie Gammon complained about heavy ATV traffic in the area.

“It seems that most of the town is blocked off, but I tell you they do whatever the hell they want whenever they want,” she said. “I’ve had enough. You know, I don’t blame you guys, it’s all of us too. But something has got to change.”

She said she’s spoken to members of the four-wheeler club in town who told her they’d look into adding signs to stop ATVs from entering prohibited areas.

Mills said selectmen have spoken to the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office about ATV-related problems and was told they are short-staffed. The Sheriff’s Office “really didn’t have a good answer for us,” not just about four-wheelers but speeding drivers in general.

Mills assured Gammon the selectmen would discuss the issue again and “will at some point between now and next town meeting we probably will have an informational meeting on four-wheelers and traffic.”

In another matter, Andover Public Library trustees Eileen Pew and Wendy Hutchins told selectmen trustees are interested in obtaining a grant to buy a generator for the library and asked for the board’s approval.

“We’ve been discussing our concern about in the winter, when the power goes out, particularly last winter, there were several days in a row where the power was out totally and we were very concerned about the pipes,” and the temperature was in the 30s, Pew said.

Selectmen approved the request and suggested upcoming government funding for COVID-19 relief may be used for projects at the library.


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