What People are Reading
- What a very sad and shocking
2 years 28 weeks ago
- Smart Meters
2 years 31 weeks ago
- 100 year old house burns
2 years 31 weeks ago
- Column 2-10 re Treason
2 years 41 weeks ago
- Radical Difference
2 years 41 weeks ago
- This activity is such a
2 years 49 weeks ago
- Okay Great we got a sign!
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Hate Crime a Sad Moment Indeed
2 years 51 weeks ago
More in News
Buckfield approves new fire-rescue station/Voters add $153k for summer roads, Buckfield Rescue
PROPOSAL — Architect Andy Hyland of Port City Architects explains to Buckfield voters at the annual town meeting Saturday that building a new fire/rescue building on the existing site would be less expensive – approximately $369,074 less – than a full-scale renovation of the existing building.
BUCKFIELD — Voters at the annual town meeting Saturday approved a $1.45 million budget and OK'd the construction of a new fire/rescue building for $1.2 million in a tight 31-28 referendum ballot vote.
The budget approved by voters includes about $153,000 in additional spending added by residents from the floor during the meeting, which lasted more than four hours.
Oxford County Commissioner Scott Cole moderated the meeting, held in the Buckfield Junior/Senior High School auditorium.
Approximately 60 voters turned out for Saturday's meeting, beginning with a moment of silence for Rodney Allen, a former Buckfield selectman, who passed away November 25, 2012.
Prior to their decision on borrowing $1 million for the fire station, voters expressed their concern about how the town could afford to construct a new 80-by-100-foot fire/rescue station and questioned how that department would be funded without increasing taxes.
Architect Andy Hyland of Port City Architects, at the meeting, said construction of a new station on the existing site would be considerably less expensive than a full-scale renovation of the 60-year-old building.
"I can't stress enough how unsafe it is," Hyland said.
The raw construction cost for a new facility on the existing site is estimated to cost $822,000 alone. Architect fees, owner's costs and other contingencies bring the total estimated cost up to $1,204,328, Hyland said.
A motion to boost funding for Buckfield Rescue by $24,065 was approved by voters, giving the department an overall $160,810 budget.
Rescue Chief Lisa Buck said the additional spending covers a $2-an-hour on-call wage for volunteers to work weekends. The department is currently in need of local volunteers, she said, which for years have been "fading away."
"Two dollars an hour, to me, isn't a whole lot of money to ask for help," Buck said, explaining it's much cheaper than paying for responders outside of Buckfield, like PACE. "What's going to happen to your tax dollars then?"
"Increasingly there are gaps in our ability to respond [to calls]," said Town Manager Dana Lee. "It's very unsettling."
Voters also accepted $100,100 for the Buckfield Fire Department. Money will pay for salaries/wages, employer contributions, training, communications, equipment, apparatus, turn-out gear and insurance for vehicles and equipment, Lee said.
Fire Chief Tim Brooks said the department is looking to purchase air bottles, a new ladder and turnout gear. According to Brooks, it costs $2,000 to outfit one firefighter.
In addition, voters approved $198,325 for administration; $7,860 for tax assessing; $16,625 for the recreation committee; $4,750 for social services and $122,800 for winter road maintenance.
In the largest spending increase, voters approved a motion to add $127,315 to the budget for summer road maintenance and improvement, bringing the summer roads budget to $350,000.
Selectmen recommended raising and appropriating $222,685 toward summer road maintenance and the budget committee recommended $136,785.
The additional funding was recommended by voters who said the town needed to address the condition of its roads. According to one voter, "If [Buckfield] can afford a $1 million fire department, we ought to pass this, no problem."
Last year, the town had budgeted $351,000, Lee told voters, including approximately $60,000 in wages, but also about $150,000 less than what the town needs to maintain its 40-plus miles of roads.
Lee said $350,000 will support paving of a couple extra miles of roads. "To do a mile of road with a couple inches of pavement, you're probably talking $100,000," he said.
Voters rejected a $3,200 proposal to switch their accounting procedure from general fund accounting to fund accounting, a move recommended to the town by its auditors.
Residents voted to raise $10,745 for maintenance of the town's 14 cemeteries. Lee said this year the town was looking to outsource some of the mowing work, particularly at the Damon Cemetery, to save money.
Hiring out the work would give the public works department about 480 more hours to work on roads, one of the town's top priorities, Lee said. "That's where we ought to be putting our time in," Lee told voters.