Wilton residents will vote Tuesday night whether to purchase a $500,000 used firetruck or send town officials back to the drawing board.

The town is hosting a special town meeting on the proposed used ladder truck purchase at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Academy Hill School cafeteria.

If residents vote against the measure, the selectboard and firetruck subcommittee will need to revisit other options for replacing their defunct ladder truck, such as buying a new truck for an estimated $1.2 million or entering an agreement with neighboring departments to share their trucks.

Next year the voters will finish paying off a bond on their half share of a firetruck with East Dixfield, and so the proposal would call for a transition from making payments on that truck to payments on the newer one.

The $500,000 would be the most the fire department is permitted to spend under the vote, though firefighters previously told selectmen they have seen a suitable truck for sale for $475,000.

The selectboard are asking for the money at a special town meeting and not waiting to ask at the annual June Town Meeting because board members said they did not want the town to miss out on a good deal on a used truck that may come up in the mean time.

Town Manager Rhonda Irish said previously that the town will likely finance the truck with a mix of tax increment financing funds and general tax funds.

Tax increment financing funds from the Comfort Inn TIF district are earmarked for economic development projects, but town officials previously said the ladder truck is connected to economic development because the level of fire protection the town provides affects development.

Prior to a July public hearing on ladder truck options, the town sent out letters to businesses asking how different levels of fire protection would affect their businesses. Several surveys from the larger businesses, including Comfort Inn & Suites, said the business would be unlikely to continue developing if it perceived it was receiving less fire protection or had less access to an aerial ladder truck

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]


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