Port City Architecture principal Andrew Hyland, seated below TV screen, addresses the Lisbon Town Council on Tuesday at the Town Office. He recommends one facility be built to house both the fire and police departments. Seated beside Hyland is independent municipal fire and EMS consultant Neil Courtney, who evaluated the town’s fire stations for the architectural firm. Kendra Caruso/Sun Journal

LISBON — Port City Architecture principal Andrew Hyland recommended to the Town Council on Tuesday that the town build one facility for its fire and police departments.

Councilors also approved a pay increase for themselves, effective the next fiscal year.

After looking at town facilities, Hyland recommended consolidating the two fire stations and police station in one building. There is not enough space for fire and police to properly function in current facilities and as the town grows it will only exacerbate issues, he said.

“It’s time,” Hyland said. “You’re a growing town, you’re not getting any smaller.”

Independent municipal fire and EMS consultant Neil Courtney evaluated the town’s fire stations for the architectural firm and found that one fire station should be able to sufficiently serve the town. He identified two areas: Ridge, Upland and Wing roads; and around River Road and Frost Hill Avenue.

Neither the Village Street station nor the Main Street station in Lisbon Falls has adequate space to house firefighters and station equipment, he said. A new station could also entice people to join the department.

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The police station does not have adequate space, Hyland said, calling it “cramped.” Though the town has grown, the spacing issues have inhibited the department in some ways.

Hyland proposed a building that would give the fire station 16,000 square feet and the police station 8,000 square feet, along with 4,000 square feet of shared space. The proposed facility would give enough space for the fire department to store its equipment and house firefighters and give the police station space for an impound area, parking and a secure outdoor space.

The proposed 29,560-square-foot facility is estimated to cost $14.83 million, which the town could fund through bonds and grants, Hyland said. That estimate does not include the roughly 3 acres required for construction. The facility would have a 50-year lifespan and the town would be able to expand the building in the future, if needed.

In other business, all councilors except Don Fellows approved the second reading of an ordinance change, to take effect next fiscal year, that increases their compensation. The ordinance increases the chairperson’s compensation from $1,800 to $2,400 per year and other councilors’ pay from $1,500 to $2,000 per year.

Councilor compensation was last increased in 1989, according to Fellows. He supported the pay increase but wanted the council to vote the motion down at the meeting, then approve the raises next fiscal year because the change will not take effect until then anyway.

He also wanted the council to consider a pay increase for other boards and committees, such as the School Board, over the current fiscal year.

Council Chairperson Harry Moore suggested they create one ordinance governing pay for the council, board members and committee members.

Previous councilor Alan Ward spoke against the pay increase, calling it a conflict of interest for councilors to approve their own pay raise. After the councilors voted to increase pay, he walked out of the meeting muttering “what a joke.”

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