Owls Head voters OK outside review of fire department after criticism, division

Posted Aug. 26, 2013, at 9:31 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 27, 2013, at 7:06 a.m.

OWLS HEAD, Maine — Residents overwhelmingly voted Monday night to approve money for an outside review of the Fire Department in the wake of internal division and criticism from a garage owner who lost his building to flames.

Of the nearly 100 people who attended the annual town meeting, only a handful voted against spending $4,900 for a review that will be done by Camden consultant Neil Courtney. The Fire Department’s board of directors — which consists of four members of the department and three selectmen — unanimously recommended the hiring.

Carver said it was important for the town to know how its Fire Department stands and that it has the best, most effective system to make sure firefighters have adequate training and the correct organizational structure.

“Forty-nine hundred dollars is a waste of money. We already do an internal review. We already do a lot to make us one of the best departments in the state.” said Eliott Scott, department medical officer.

The Maine Department of Labor conducted a safety review earlier this year and found no significant problems, town officials said.

In other action Monday night, residents approved the proposed $1 million municipal budget for 2013-2014 with little debate. The budget is up 6 percent from 2012-2013.

The increase was due largely to an increase in the public works budget. This account jumped from $454,414 to $518,146 — more than a 10 percent increase. Increased amounts were budgeted for salt, sand and plowing.

The general administration budget rose about 1 percent, reaching $243,694.

The public safety budget decreased by less than 1 percent, falling to $218,763.

Town officials were re-elected without opposition. Linda Post was re-elected as a selectman. William Leppanen was re-elected road commissioner, and Jeff LaBrozzi as harbor master.

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