LISBON — The Town Council is considering a proposal to purchase two new fire engines to replace three aging trucks in the Lisbon Fire Department.

On Tuesday, Fire Chief Nate LeClair asked councilors to support adding a question to the November ballot authorizing the town to spend no more than $1.7 million to finance both.

The Town Council will vote whether to add the question to the ballot. Ultimately, Lisbon voters will make the final decision.

LeClair said he was bringing the request before the Town Council now because it would take two years from purchase to receive the new engines due to the lengthy manufacturing time.

One engine has problems with its computer, a hole in its water tank and other issues, according to LeClair. Due to its age, some parts can’t be replaced. Another engine is “literally dropping bolts on the ground,” and the rescue truck has rear frame issues, he added.

Glendon Borgas backs the “Moxie Engine” into the Lisbon Falls fire station in June. The 2019 engine cost $650,000, but today it would be $150,000 more, Fire Chief Nate LeClair said this week. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal file photo

The three trucks he is proposing to remove from service were built in 2000, 2003 and 2004.

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With prices rising, LeClair said the town can’t afford to wait to replace the trucks.

The Moxie-colored engine purchased in 2019 cost the town $650,000, LeClair said. That same engine costs $150,000 more now, a 23% increase. Prices are expected to increase another 7% at the end of October, he said.

The council agreed to discuss the proposal further and set a public hearing date at their next meeting Sept. 6.

MOXIE FESTIVAL UPDATE

Finance Director Kayla Tierney told councilors the Moxie Festival had a “fantastic turnout” this year after a two-year pause due to COVID-19.

Tierney said the Moxie committee budgeted $45,000 for expenses but spent $35,000. With a total revenue of $45,000 from vendors, sponsorships and souvenir sales, the town brought in a net total of about $10,000.

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She said the committee exceeded its revenue projections and is in good shape to finance next year’s festival.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGERS DOWN

Assistant Town Manager Glenn Michalowski gave an update on the town’s malfunctioning electric vehicle charging station at the town parking lot off Main Street in Lisbon Falls.

The charging station, which has four plugs, stopped functioning sometime near November, he said.

“It is my understanding that there is an issue with the software and the manufacturer has not provided any information on how they plan to address the issue to date,” he wrote in an email Wednesday. “They did say this issue is affecting rural communities more than urban communities, but (provided) no indication as to why.”

The town paid $19,000 and Central Maine Power contributed $16,000 to purchase and install the station in April 2021, Michalowski said. The town gets revenue from the charging station when it is operating correctly.

Town staff are exploring options to fix the chargers and will consult legal help about their options, he added.

While the charger stopped working in November, town officials were unaware of the problem until a couple of months ago due to staff turnover in the town office, Michalowski said.

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