DEXTER, Maine — Just how well-equipped the Dexter Fire Department is for the community it serves will be determined in a study approved Tuesday during a special Town Council meeting.
The council voted to transfer $3,500 from unanticipated revenue to hire Municipal Resources Inc. of Meredith, N.H., to look at the fire equipment the town has and determine if it’s sufficient for the year-round population of about 4,000.
The $3,500 will come from revenue the town received from the sale of tax-acquired property, according to Town Manager Dave Pearson.
Firefighters had asked the council a few months ago for permission to purchase a new tanker to replace the 25-year-old tanker before new emissions standards were phased in by 2010, which would raise the price of the vehicle.
While sympathetic to the Fire Department’s request for the new tanker, the Town Council said there simply were not enough funds in the capital reserve account to cover its cost.
“There were all kinds of opinions as to whether we even needed the truck to begin with,” Pearson said Wednesday. With those opinions, it seemed reasonable to have an outside firm look at the department’s five trucks and the town’s needs, he said.
Fire Chief Barry Derring said Wednesday the department has spent thousands of dollars on the repair of the 1985 International tanker. Two years ago, a new tank was installed and last spring the drive shaft broke, he said. “We’ve spent about $30,000 plus in the last two years on the vehicle,” he said. “It’s at the point where it’s starting to nickel and dime us.”
In a related matter, the council last month approved the use of up to $16,000 to replace the water pump on the department’s 1996 International firetruck. Pearson said the water pump was ruined when sand was sucked up into it. The funding was approved from the equipment reserve account.
Pearson said the consultants with Municipal Resources Inc. represent former town managers, fire department officials and bankers.. The company will do an inventory of what the town has, study the mutual-aid pact the town has with other departments, and then issue its opinion on whether the town has enough equipment, he said.