Dover-Foxcroft Fire Department moving forward with ladder truck purchase
DOVER-FOXCROFT — Following an affirmative 128 to 13 vote — approximately 90.8 percent — at a special town meeting the week before, Dover-Foxcroft officials are proceeding with a plan to purchase a new ladder truck for the fire department. Town Manager Jack Clukey was formally authorized to make the purchase by the selectmen during a Feb. 8 meeting.
“What everybody has is the vote to allow the fire department to move forward with the ladder truck, as soon as tomorrow,” Clukey said.
“The results of the special town meeting were overwhelmingly in favor of this purchase,” Select Vice Chairman Cindy Freeman Cyr said.
The vote was for a $1.4 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan to immediately replace the Dover-Foxcroft Fire Department’s 1993 ladder truck, start the process to switch out a 1999 pumper truck with a new, custom model and purchase replacement airpacks. Of the $1.4 million, $590,000 will be for the ladder truck, $690,000 for an engine truck and $140,000 for airpacks.
The estimated interest rate is 2.125 percent and the estimated term is 30 years. The maximum interest to be paid over three decades is $507,540 for a combined total cost of $1,907,540.
The motor blew in early December in the ladder truck the department has owned since 2015. Due to the age of the vehicle, a replacement is difficult to find and even more difficult to obtain a warranty for an extended period of time. New ladder trucks cost more than $1 million. A replacement motor is not available with any guarantee and new motors would not work in the 28-year-old model.
The 1993 ladder truck had been the only such vehicle in the region, needed to reach the top of the tallest buildings in town such as The Mill apartments, Foxcroft Academy dorm, Northern Light Mayo Regional Hospital roof, Piscataquis County Courthouse and Piscataquis County Ice Arena.
Fire Lt. Brian Gaudet began looking at dealers across the country in early December and a 2012 truck with a 100-foot ladder — which had been in service in Virginia Beach — was located at Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus in Union Grove, Alabama. Fire Chief Joe Guyotte, Assistant Chief Jerry Rollins and firefighter Timothy Perkins traveled to northeastern Alabama to inspect the ladder truck in person.
After some negotiating, a $590,000 price was settled on with the 2012 ladder truck to be delivered to Dover-Foxcroft and the current truck included in the transaction by being sold for $40,000 and transported south. The truck comes with a three-year warranty that covers all components valued at $3,000 or more, and needed warranty work can be performed in Auburn.
Later this year, fire department officials plan to put in an order for a new, customized fire truck to replace the 1999 pumper. The department purchased the 1999 pumper new before the turn of the century.
Seventeen airpacks are 29 years old and due to their age, the airpacks are not as safety compliant as current models. The department has applied for FEMA funds but wanted to secure the extra funding in case the application is turned down.
“The Dover-Foxcroft Fire Department would like to thank everyone who came out to support us in last night’s vote,” reads a Feb. 4 post on the department Facebook page. “It is with great pride we announce that the bond passed 128-13. Again a huge thank you to you all!”
“The special town meeting we had last week, we had the floor open an extended amount of time 4-8 p.m.,” Clukey said, with the allowance made to stay within the 50-person gathering limit.
“In terms of a special town meeting turnout, that’s a good turnout,” he said with 141 voters taking part.
In other business, the selectmen passed a resolution encouraging health and safety measures amidst the pandemic. Board members had previously wondered about a possible response to the Piscataquis County Commissioners’ Resolution of Protest condemning Gov. Janet Mills’ COVID-19 policies, but opted to instead have a statement of their own.
Selectman Gail D’Agostino wrote a draft resolution, and with input from the other board members, the approved statement is: “The Dover-Foxcroft Board of Selectmen encourages the use of face coverings and the practice of social distancing as recommended by the Maine CDC as a way to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19. The Dover-Foxcroft Board of Selectmen will continue to use Zoom as a public forum for its meetings.”
In his report, Clukey said, “[Northern Light] Mayo Hospital conducted a vaccination clinic in the gym on Saturday. I’m told it was a huge success.”
“They plan to use our gym throughout the spring and July,” he said, with use of the facility to be coordinated with others. Clukey said the frequency depends on the number of vaccines made available to the hospital.
The town manager also said Efficiency Maine has an incentive for municipal lighting upgrades and heat pumps and Dover-Foxcroft officials are looking into this.