VASSALBORO — Firefighters need a new tanker truck that will cost between $250,000 and $300,000.

They don’t expect voters to buy it for them next year. But they would like those attending this year’s town meeting in June to approve starting a reserve fund to pay for it later.

They also need to increase their budget request for 2012-13 by $10,000 to cover necessary truck repairs, department spokesman Michael Vashon told selectmen Thursday evening.

Vashon said the fire department fleet includes one 1984 truck and two 1985 trucks. The department’s big tanker is one of the 27-year-old vehicles.

When they need lots of water at a fire scene, they can call on Winslow for an additional tanker. Augusta has none, because most of the city is served by fire hydrants. Others are too far away to reach a fire in Vassalboro quickly enough.

Vashon said they are looking for 3,500-gallon capacity tanker. When department members priced that size truck last fall as part of a grant application, they received cost estimates of $255,000 and $280,000, with a smaller pump than they would like.

The department didn’t get the grant.

Selectman Robert Browne and board Chairman Philip Haines said a small fire truck reserve is included in Town Manager Mary Sabins’ draft 2012-13 budget. The amount to be set aside remains to be determined by selectmen, the Budget Committee and, ultimately, town voters.

Vashon also listed the almost $10,000 worth of truck repairs that have been — and still must be — completed to keep the equipment safe and legal. That’s why he asked for a higher budget than he initially requested.

Department officials got some of the cost estimates Thursday, he said, so they could not include the figures in the budget request submitted to Sabins last month.

Browne suggested the additional money for next year might have to be deducted from the planned reserve fund, depending on available funding in next year’s budget.

Now, Vassalboro’s cash flow and its accounting and record-keeping practices are where they should be, according to auditor Christian Smith.

Smith attended Thursday’s meeting to discuss his audit of town books through last June 30.

He told selectmen he gave the town a “clean opinion,” a rating indicating that the books were in order and all necessary information was available.

By the end of June, Vassalboro had a little more than $1 million in undesignated surplus, plus some designated funds, such as reserve funds and money carried forward for a specific department or purpose.

“The town is in good financial shape,” he said. “You’re in a good position, where you should be.”


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