May 20, 2018
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South Thomaston voters nix new firetruck

Stephen Betts | BDN
Stephen Betts | BDN
Nearly 150 South Thomaston residents turned out Tuesday night for the annual town meeting.
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

SOUTH THOMASTON, Maine — A proposal to purchase a new firetruck was shot down by voters Tuesday night during the annual town meeting.

The more than 150 people who turned out for the municipal meeting also elected Dianne Darling out of a field of four candidates for a two-year term on the board that was created when Patrick “Mike” Florance resigned earlier this year.

The firetruck article on the town meeting warrant asked voters whether they wanted to spend $450,000 for a new rescue pumper truck. The town would have received $100,000 for trading in its newest truck — a 2003 vehicle. Another $157,000 would have come from the firetruck reserve account and the remaining $193,000 would have come from borrowing.

Elsie Brown said the department may want a new truck but it did not need it.

Sonya Sleeper said that the department responds to 47 calls in a year and said it was too risky to spend this kind of money at a time of financial uncertainty for towns because of state budget cuts.

Outgoing Selectman Jeffrey Northgraves said the new truck was needed. He said both of the department’s vehicles are old and if one is not replaced this year, the town will need to buy both in the same year within a few years.

Interest rates are at historic lows, Northgraves said in defense of the purchase. He also said the cost of repaying the loan would be less than what the town has been putting in the firetruck reserve account each year.

South Thomaston elects its municipal officials at the town meeting.

Darling was elected to the two-year selectman seat with 72 votes. She finished ahead of Wayne Brown, who received 42 votes, David Eaton, who received 26, and Sonja Sleeper with 16 votes.

Dorothy Meriwether ran uncontested for a three-year term on the board of selectmen. Meriwether, who has served on the board in the past, will succeed Northgraves, who did not seek re-election.

Voters were also acting on a proposed 2013 municipal budget of $995,414, which represents a 4 percent increase.

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