South Thomaston trying to find missing firetruck money

Posted March 14, 2014, at 3:28 p.m.

SOUTH THOMASTON, Maine — Town officials have turned to the Maine Attorney General’s Office in a continued effort to find out what happened to approximately $10,000 raised years ago for the eventual purchase of a firetruck.

Robert Branco, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said Friday that Administrative Assistant John Spear turned to the state after other efforts failed to locate the money.

The issue last arose publicly at a July 2010 selectmen’s meeting when selectmen demanded that the money be turned over to the town by representatives of the South Thomaston Firemen’s Association, which disbanded in 2005. The association consisted of volunteer firefighters but was not a town department, former association member Colin Grierson said.

The money was raised in a variety of ways, such as controlled field burns and catering meals for local events. The money was used for coffee and doughnuts for firefighters when they responded to fires but the overwhelming bulk was set aside for fire equipment.

At the July 2010 meeting, Grierson said that the money would be turned over to the town when it bought a new vehicle.

On Friday, Grierson said he does not know what happened to the money. He said he knows that about $10,000 was in an interest-bearing account at Camden National Bank as of that July 2010 meeting. He said he was not the treasurer of the organization but when the former treasurer, Willard Brown, died in 2008, the quarterly bank statements were sent to Grierson for reasons he did not understand.

Grierson said Friday that he became frustrated with the situation and, after the July 2010 meeting, asked not to receive any more of the association’s bank statements.

He said he knew there were other people’s names on the account. He said one of those people has moved out of state and does not know who the other people were whose names were on that account.

The town wants the money as another potential source to help finance the proposed purchase of a firetruck. A question about whether to purchase that truck is on the warrant for the annual town meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, at the Gilford Butler School.

A public informational meeting on the proposed purchase is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 19.

In a letter to the editor sent Friday, former fire chief Wayne Brown said the proposal for a new fire truck is “at best premature — at worst an unnecessary and unjustified expense which will satisfy a ‘want,’ as opposed to a ‘need.’”

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