PERU — The Fire and Highway departments will soon have the capability of townwide radio communications after a new repeater is installed on the privately-owned Libby Tower on Tower Road.

Fire Chief Bill Hussey said Monday that the town has had its own radio frequency for years but obstacles such as mountains prevent radio communications from reaching all parts of town.

Voters at a special town meeting Thursday approved spending up to $20,000 for a repeater, which will boost the radio signal over obstacles such as mountains, to cover the entire town.

The money will come from surplus.

The town has been using one of Oxford County’s five communications towers to receive fire calls from the Oxford County Regional Communications Center in South Paris. Once departments are toned for a call, they switch to their respective radio frequencies, Hussey said.

“The county is going to 12 towers next year, and they’re going to require us to go to our own frequency once we’re toned for a fire,” he said. “So now, we use their frequency quite a bit until we’re on scene. Once they have those towers, we’re not allowed to do that.”


Road Commissioner Brad Hutchings said the only ones who will use the repeater are the Fire  and Road departments and any mutual aid departments that assist the town. “Other than that, nobody uses our frequency. Nobody uses our repeater. It’s specific for the town of Peru.”

The current situation limits radio communications within the town, he said.

“You can’t talk from one side of town to the other side of town, whether it’s for normal operations or emergency operations,” Hutchings said. “You can’t even talk from Valley Road down to East Shore, or Greenwood Road up to the Valley Road. Sometimes you can get over to Main Street and over to Dickvale, depending on where the trucks are over there. But normally, you cannot talk from one side of town over to the other without the repeater system.”

Hutchings said tower rental for the first five years is free. After that, it will be $100 per month, with the two departments each paying half.

Voters also approved spending up to $100,000 from surplus to finish repairs on upper Ridge Road.

“We’re going to grind the entire road, from Valley Road to the newer section that was paved,” Hutchings said, “just past the big enormous boulders we finally uncovered. Part of those boulders are going to be removed so we can get drainage off there and it will be safer for people driving by, plus we won’t beat up the wings on the trucks.”


Three culverts will be installed, gravel added to level it out, ditches dug and paving done, he said.

Work will begin early in the construction season and take about three weeks.

After the meeting, Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Tammi Lyons said the $120,000 is part of the $150,000 raised by error in 2021-22 budget. The error was discovered in January. She said voters approved the road repairs but didn’t raise enough money for them.

About 30 people attended the meeting at the Town Office.

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