Police & Fire

Milo may pursue Villages Partnership Initiative

MILO — Milo has the opportunity to work with the Maine Department of Transportation on a Village Partnership Initiative to develop a vision for the downtown, but any binding obligation would be made in the months to come. Milo officials learned more about the initiative from MDOT Region 4-5 Transportation Planner Jarod Farn-Guillette.during a meeting on Monday, June 3.

Farn-Guillette said a Village Partnership is a program of the bureau’s community-based planning program. He said he reached out to Milo Town Manager Robert Canney a few months ago after passing through town while working on a similar endeavor in Dover-Foxcroft. Similar villages projects are also on-going in Presque Isle, Madawaska, Fort Kent, and Van Buren.

Saying highways will take people from point A to B, Farn-Guillette said “but when you get to B we want you to have a reason to stop your car, get out, and drop a dollar.” 

He explained MDOT will use investments and municipal infrastructure “particularly the historic village core, the downtown to bring that look feel and character that many of our historic towns had as a means to revitalize rural economy in the state of Maine as well as improve quality of life of those who live here and those who choose to live here and also those who come to visit.”

The MDOT would work with Milo on a feasibility and conceptual design for a consultant request for proposals for landscape and traffic engineers to look at efficiency of infrastructure and how it looks to complement the character of the town.

Farn-Guillette said the MDOT and Maine’s senior senators have a near 100 percent track record of delivering grant funds — which would have a municipal match requirement — for such projects either from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for those $5 million and up and from Congressionally Directed Spending if under $5 million.

He said for about every $1 contributed by the municipality, MDOT can find another $9.

“This is really an opportunity for Maine DOT to partner with municipalities in making mutually beneficial and feasible improvements,” Farn-Guillette said.

He said he can start the process with no obligation for the town, drafting a scope of work and Milo could then proceed or not or even pick it up again in a few years. “You are not committed until you sign a contract document with Maine DOT for that process,” Farn-Guillette said.

Canney said he spoke with Farn-Guillette in the fall, suggesting improvements to the Pleasant Street sidewalks and intersection of Pleasant and High streets.

Select Chair Paula Copeland said the Village Partnership Initiative sounds great, and suggested a formal decision be made in the future.

In other business, Town Clerk Betty Gormley announced the results of the day’s special election to fill four select board vacancies and the new board members were sworn in.

Residents voted Monday after a cluster of resignations last month left just one member overseeing the town. Former Select Chair Leland will serve a three-year seat, Anthony Heal will be on the board for two years, and elected to one-year terms were Tammie Anders and Brian Surette.

“Thank you all, we had a record turnout today I think for our voting,” Copland said, as 151 residents cast ballots which featured only the select board election.

Fire Chief Matt Demers mentioned the department’s training center at the Eastern Piscataquis Business Park. “There are no town funds involved in that, it is all money we’ve raised through the fishing derby and other fundraisers,” he said. “So we’re starting another phase of that project to make our search and rescue trailer more usable and more realistic so that’s coming along.”

“We’re still looking for a replacement ladder truck,” Demers said. “At this point we don’t want to go too fast, we want to make sure we get what we really, really need. The last truck that we looked at, we decided it was actually a little too big for the area. It was a nice truck, but it wasn’t really what this area needed.”

Earlier this year the Milo Fire Department had located a vehicle in the Midwest to replace a more than 40-year-old ladder truck. Upon in-person review, the crew traveling out decided it was not the right fit.

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.

In his report Canney said the paperwork from a May 8 special town meeting on a line of credit for the public safety building has gone through for bonding and then will be sent to the USDA.

The town is currently in the 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 will be located at the business park and across the road from the Milo Water District office less than a mile up Park Street from the 100-year-old town hall where the fire and police departments are currently located.

Plymouth Engineering had been meeting with town officials and department heads to design each department’s section of the facility, with plans now solidified and ready to go out to bid. The engineering firm estimates the building, groundwork, and engineering costs to total $7,200,758 or $825,758 more than what Milo has available in project funding. To make up for the difference, residents approved a line of credit not to exceed $825,758 to cover costs above and beyond the $6,375,000 at the special town meeting 

“Plymouth Engineering is currently doing the internal work so we’re done with the design part for the department heads and now their guys are in there hooking up the outlets where they need to go on all the drawings and all that,” Canney said.

He said the engineering firm is expected to be finished next month so the project would then go out to bid with these coming in by late August. “So at the September meeting we can hire a bidder,” Canny said. “So hopefully we can get the bidder hired and they can start doing the groundwork up there this fall.”

The town manager has said the construction process would be an 18-month build.

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