Police & Fire

Dover-Foxcroft to purchase new tank truck

DOVER-FOXCROFT — The Dover-Foxcroft Fire Department’s near 30-year-old tank truck that has been out of service and is in need of costly repairs will be replaced with a 2024 model.

The Dover-Foxcroft Select Board approved a purchase agreement with Midwest Fire of Luverne, Minnesota, during a Tuesday evening meeting. 

Dover-Foxcroft crews will use a Maine Forest Service vehicle through the end of March, and should have another truck in the spring to use in the interim, but a long-term solution has been found.

A $10,000 deposit is due with the contract signing, and an estimated $142,300 would be paid upon completion of the chassis in April 2024. The remaining balance would be due upon completion of the truck for a total project cost of $522,735. The estimated delivery date is July 2024.

Given that the size and features of the truck meet the needs of the department, and that there are several similar tank trucks in service across Maine, the select board’s protection committee recommended approving the truck proposed by Midwest Fire. 

Board member Tom Lizotte wondered about coverage before the summer of 2024.

Fire Chief Brian Gaudet said the Maine Forest Service is lending its tank truck to Dover-Foxcroft before the start of the wild fire season in April — an arrangement that the selectboard formally approved last month. The 3,000-gallon vehicle would otherwise be in storage for the winter.

Gaudet said Monson has two tankers and officials in the community 20 miles to the north are considering lending one to Dover-Foxcroft. 

“We will have coverage if the town of Monson and this board agrees,” Gaudet said, because formal agreements would need selectboard approval from each.

He said Dover-Foxcroft would respond to calls up Route 15 with the loaned truck if Monson requests this.

During a December meeting, Gaudet said Dover-Foxcroft’s 1995 tanker has a leaking tank body and could no longer be used. He said rust has contributed to making the 28-year-old truck inoperable. 

The fire chief said an early estimate he received on similar repair work is $25,000 for a much newer truck, but given the vehicle is nearly three decades old, it would likely be much more. He said it would probably be a better idea to invest in a new vehicle.

During the public comment portion at the start of the meeting, town officials heard from residents opposed to and in support of a show by the Bangor-based Delicious Drag Divas scheduled for April 15 at the Center Theatre. The show flyer advertises the event as 18-plus to get in, with alcohol to be available for those of legal age.

The Center Theatre will apply for a special amusement permit for alcohol sales, with a public hearing being planned as part of the select board meeting on Monday, Feb. 27.

Selectperson Steve Grammont said there is no permit needed for the theater to host the Delicious Drag Divas show. “If the permit is denied, the show goes on,” he said. “It just can’t sell alcohol.”

Grammont said the Center Theatre made an honest mistake by not having the special amusement permit in place. He said the town has been accused of not being business-friendly by cutting slack for similar oversights.

“We are not morality police,” Grammont said. “If it is not recognized as illegal, we should not interfere and potentially open the town up to a lawsuit.”

In other business, the selectboard increased pricing for leasing space at the town office.

For 2023-24, the rate will be $11 per square foot, up from the $9.75 set last year. The current price was the first increase since 2010, with the rate previously being $8.50 for more than a decade.

“It’s really trying to get caught up a little bit after not doing it for so long,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said.

Select Vice Chairperson Cindy Freeman Cyr said the rate is still a very good deal, with utilities included.

Town officials also signed the 2023 Piscataquis County assessor’s return. Dover-Foxcroft will contribute $651,447 toward the $5,158,925 to be raised across the region. The community’s proportional share is up by $90,617.

In his report, Clukey said the town was not successful in its recent application for broadband funding. He said a debrief on the document will come in and the town plans to resubmit in the spring round.

Clukey also said the Sebec Lake Association continues to submit grant applications for a wash station to be constructed near the boat landing at Sebec Lake.

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