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Repairs will keep Dexter firetruck on the road

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DEXTER — After considering several options during a Jan. 12 meeting, the Dexter Town Council authorized a sum of up to a little more than $178,000 from a reserve account be used to fix up a 1992 firetruck.
“The fire department, transportation committee and the council sat down to meet to discuss repairs to the truck,” Council Chair Marcia Delaware said. “We are here tonight to figure out how to do this.”
Councilor Chuck Ellms said the group received a report from Greenwood Emergency Vehicles of North Attleboro, Mass. that listed a number of needed improvements. The full work would cost about $178,000 — the fire truck reserve account contained approximately $210,000 before Thursday evening — but would come with a 10-year lifespan.
“I’m having a hard time putting that kind of money into the truck,” Councilor Michael Blake said. “We are just kicking that can down the road fixing up that truck.”
Blake said in a decade the vehicle would have no value and instead of funding the repairs the money could go toward a replacement purchase.
Looking at the itemized repairs, Blake wondered what was absolutely essential and what work could not be done. Going through and checking with Dexter Fire Department officials, the ballpark price tag was brought down to about $101,000.
“My opinion is do everything (the representative) recommended or the committee recommended or go to plan B,” Ellms said as the councilors discussed moving forward.
“I think we need to do whatever it takes to make that truck functional and safe,” Councilor Fred Sherburne said.
Delaware said she was in favor of funding the full slate of repairs and by a vote of 5-2 a motion to this effect was passed. Blake and Peter Haskell were the “no” votes.
In other business, the councilors accepted a $3,000 donation from the Plummer Foundation to fund a K-9 unit for the Dexter Police Department. Officer James Roy has a dog certified for narcotics detection, and the donation would help the department use this resource. The canine is just over two years old and was given to the department by the Wyman family.
“We would use the dog in town while I am working, for traffic stops, warrants and school checks,” Officer Roy said.
Chief Kevin Wintle said Officer Roy and his canine recently conducted a demonstration for the Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis and this led to the donation from the Plummer Foundation. The funds could be used to help equip a department vehicle with the necessary cage — which is already part of the inventory — for the dog.
“That’s our idea to try to locate this stuff before it becomes a problem in our town,” Officer Roy said about the detection of narcotics. “There’s plenty of illegal drugs coming into this town from all directions,” he said, saying the dog would be able to assist in traffic stops.
“It’s not just Dexter that has this problem and if surrounding communities find out about this dog it’s doing to help them too,” Chief Wintle said. “It’s about saving lives.”
John Parola of the Plummer Foundation Board of Directors said the mission of the organization is improve the health, safety and welfare of the community. “This would be a great opportunity to try something without putting a whole lot of money into it,” Parola said. “Then you will have something to go by if you continue to do it.”

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