Police & Fire

Milo looking at replacement ladder truck

MILO — The Milo Fire Department has located a vehicle that would replace a more than 40-year-old ladder truck.

“We found a ladder truck that we want to bid in on,” Fire Chief Matt Demers said during a Feb. 6 select board meeting. “We had a crew that went out to look at a truck in the Midwest. After reviewing the truck and seeing what it was, it was a lot more than what we needed and luckily we found one right in New York that’s still in service currently so all the certifications are up to date.” 

Demers said the department is looking to put a bid in on the New York truck, which if awarded could either be shipped or driven up by department members.

He said it is a 2012 model, 100-foot aerial vehicle. “A straight stick, meaning it’s just a ladder,” the chief said. “There’s no bucket on the end of it. No pump, no tank, so there’d be none of that maintenance to go along with it.”

The ladder is pre-piped so a connection at the bottom would supply water to the top and can be operated via remote control from the ground.

In November the fire department was given the formal go-ahead by town officials to start looking for a ladder truck with the $200,000 estimated purchase price to be included in the upcoming budget with a related article to be on the annual town meeting warrant.

In the fall Demers said insurance won’t cover the needed $20,000 repairs on the approximately 42-year-old platform aerial truck. He said the original purchase price was $95,000.

“For no more than $200,000 I think we can get a truck that will serve this community well,” Demers said then.

With the new station coming we’ve discussed it and we’re better off looking for a truck that will fit the new station, not isolate it to the truck that fits this station. That will open the doors a lot more on options,” he said.

“We’ve been dumping good money over good money into that truck ever since we’ve had it, and it’s not going to stop,” the chief said. “We’re already seeing rust issues that are going to have to be addressed right off as well as mechanical things that keep going wrong with that truck.”

When asked, he said the current vehicle would be good for parts and the fire department has had trouble finding components in the past.

In other business, Town Manager Robert Canney said he has an approximate $3,195,000 gross municipal 2024-25 municipal budget to bring to the board, which approved the spending plan to be brought to the annual town meeting — set for 7 p.m. on Monday, March 11.

“We went through it with a fine tooth comb and I really want to thank the budget committee,” Canney said. “We used the same folks this year for the most part and we hashed it out.”

“I think they did a good job going through it and drilling down everything and they didn’t have any big concerns,” he said. “I think this is a fair representation of what it’s going to cost us to provide the services.”

Canney said the mill rate won’t be known until the summer, as by then the town will have an SAD 41 budget, county tax, and figures from the state.

Canney said the Henry “Butch” Heal Memorial Bridge spanning the Sebec River downtown is due to be replaced in 2026 and not 2025.

“It should be a long process,” he said. “If you haven’t seen it’s in the work plan for 2026, it’s $31 million.”

The new bridge will be oriented to go above Trafton Falls. Canney said there will be an impact on the nearby Veterans Memorial Park, power lines, and hydrants and this all is being coordinated by the Maine Department of Transportation and relevant partners.

The town manager said plans include 6-foot shoulders plus sidewalks, and the new bridge can be opened to ATV traffic. He said the current span will remain in place during construction and online public hearings are set for this spring or summer.

In the fall of 2022 the Sebec River bridge was formally named for Henry “Butch” Heal, a U.S. Army private first class who died in combat on April 22, 1968, several days shy of his 21st birthday. The new bridge will keep the name to continue to honor Heal.

Canney was asked for an update on the public safety building project.

“We’re just wrapping up the rest of the plans with Plymouth Engineering,” he said. 

Environmental assessments on the proposed Park Street site are ongoing and these will be finalized so the project can go out to bid. 

“They’ve told us it’s an 18-month build once they break ground,” the town manager said.

The town is currently in the early planning stages of a new building to house the fire, police, and public works departments. The community can spend up to $6,375,000 in USDA funds for the public safety building, which is being planned for near the business park and across the road from the Milo Water District office less than a mile up the street from the 100-year-old town hall where the fire and police departments are currently located.

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