Andover Treasurer Amber Cooper speaks Tuesday about renovations for the Town Hall at the informational meeting  there. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

ANDOVER — Town officials presented residents with a list of items for the annual town meeting warrant, including water meters, a handicapped bathroom, firefighting equipment and town office renovations.

The decision on what and how much to fund will be decided at 8 a.m. June 11 at the Town Hall.

Selectmen Brian Mills, Joe Luce and Jeff Elkie addressed over a dozen residents at the informational meeting.

Trustee Peggy Madigan of the Andover Water District said the district is asking upward of $18,400 from the town’s allotment of the federal American Rescue Plan Act to buy 120 water meters.

The federal government is requiring lead and copper testing in plumbing, she said, as well as for polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of synthetic chemicals used to make coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water.

“We thought this was a good time (to replace or add meters), because we have some households where the meters do not work at all, and other households that don’t even have a meter,” Madigan said.

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Fire Chief Jim Adler said one article asks for $10,000 to create an account for fire department apparatus, including a future tanker, and another asks for $10,560 for an account for future purchase of portable air packs.

“What I’m trying to do is get the account set up so that we can slowly put money in and take care of the issues that we need to take care of without hitting the town all at once in one year,” Adler said.

The air packs must be replaced every 20 years at an estimated $1,100-plus per bottle. He said the town has until 2026 to replace 44 bottles, which are expected to cost $52,800.

Madigan also said a committee is recommending $10,000 to design a unisex and handicapped accessible bathroom for the public at the fire station. Last year, voters approved $11,400 to build two public bathrooms but bids were four times the amount of money the town had, she said.

“So, we’re asking to keep that money that the townspeople gave us last year and ask for a little more this year,” she said. “And we’ve downsized our project a little to include just one public bathroom.”

If the article passes, one of the two bathrooms at the station would be renovated for public use.

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Town Treasurer Amber Cooper spoke of an article asking for $50,000 to renovate the Town Office building into separate areas for the public and for staff offices. She said the office entryway would become handicapped accessible and moved to face the street, and a separate customer waiting room would be created.

Lynda Airhart, secretary to selectmen, said the changes “would also give the clerk and her deputy more storage space in their area.”

Mills, chairman of the board, told residents that estimates to pave Wyman Hill and East Andover roads are $102,000 and $404,225, respectively.

“We do have money in our road account to do, I’m pretty sure, all of the culvert work on the East Andover Road, so some of that would be taken care of. The amount requested in the warrant “basically would be for paving,” he said.

Mills also said he thought the biggest issue regarding the roadwork would be whether to use the COMSAT Trust Fund or a bank bond to pay for it.

The fund was established in 1984 with money from a tax settlement from the satellite Earth Station built by AT&T in 1961. As of June 2020, it had $760,171.

In 2020, voters approved an ordinance to govern use of fund, allowing the town to borrow from it for infrastructure improvements. Under the Andover COMSAT Trust Fund Financial Ordinance, money can be used for infrastructure improvements if they are authorized at an annual town meeting or a special town meeting. The ordinance requires the town to repay the money from its General Fund within 10 years at a fixed interest rate no higher than 1% below the current market rate and no lower than 1%. The town treasurer and Board of Selectmen are responsible to administer the use of the money withdrawn.

Selectman Joe Luce said, “If we do go through COMSAT we’re going to pay ourselves back, OK, at a higher interest rate than what we actually get from interest from what we have in the account right now, OK, so it’s a win-win.”

Andover Selectmen Chairman Brian Mills, left, Joe Luce and Jeff Elkie join other officials Tuesday at an information meeting on the annual town meeting warrant. Voters will decide the articles June 11. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times


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