ADDISON, Maine — An overwhelming majority of the roughly 25 residents who listened to fire chief Sheldon Trundy’s explanation of a proposed new fire station expressed their support last week for financing the nearly $600,000 project through a municipal loan, rather than with partial funding of up to $300,000 from a federal grant.
The vote was nonbinding and a final decision will be up to voters at the annual town meeting next March.
Trundy told those attending the town hall meeting on Sept. 20 that applying for a Community Development Block Grant is a long, laborious process with many mandated restrictions and no guarantee that any money would be awarded.
Funding for the 8.8-acre site near the intersection of Wescogus Road and East Side Road, purchased earlier this year for $32,000, was appropriated by a $45,000 line-item vote during the March 8, 2011, town meeting. Architectural plans show numerous facility improvements over the aging station in the center of town, including a landing pad for a LifeFlight helicopter.
Trundy said that according to recent estimates, a 20-year loan for the full cost would increase the mill rate around three-tenths of one percentage point. The current mill rate is $12 per $1,000 of property value.
The mill rate would go up by half that amount if a $300,000 CDBG grant could be obtained and the town only had to borrow another $300,000 for the project. But Trundy also pointed out that the longer the town has to wait, the more likely it is that costs and interest rates for the proposed fire station might increase.
No head count was taken during last week’s meeting, as most of the residents present raised their hands when asked whether they approved of borrowing the entire amount.