WINDSOR — Multiple new vehicle purchases, including a large plow truck and a new first responder rescue vehicle, go to residents for consideration at the Town Meeting on Wednesday; but the biggest potential truck purchase will be decided at the polls Tuesday.

Voters on Wednesday also will consider spending items that make up a town budget that’s up by about $70,000 but, if the town’s total property valuation increases as much as town officials hope, might not require an increase in taxes.

Voters will decide, by secret ballot Tuesday, whether to borrow up to $350,000 to buy a new fire truck — a pump truck with a six-person cab — to replace a 28-year-old pump truck that Fire Chief Arthur Strout said needs to be replaced. He said its age and its pump system probably would be unable to meet safety standards.

The new truck could cost up to $410,000, so in addition to the proposal to borrow $350,000 for it, $50,000 from a fire equipment reserve account and $10,000 raised by firefighters also would go toward the purchase.

Strout said having a truck with a cab would provide a place for firefighters, in their gear and with air tanks on, to get out of the elements at fire and other emergency scenes, which often involve extreme heat and extreme cold. He said the old truck it would replace has exceeded its recommended time in service, especially for a front-line truck on which firefighters rely to keep the water flowing to them while fighting fires.

However, both the selectmen and the Budget Committee oppose the fire truck purchase.

Ray Bates, chairman of the selectmen, said the board voted, 0-4 with one abstention, against it, because board members thought the proposed new rig was bigger and more expensive than what the town needs.

Selectmen did recommend, in a 4-1 vote, the purchase of a new first responder rescue vehicle to replace the current unit, which has more than 200,000 miles on it.

“One reason we don’t support the purchase of the fire truck and are supporting the rescue vehicle is the rescue vehicle goes to every call, but the fire truck is not necessarily sent every time,” Bates said. “That’s why we feel it is more important for the town.”

Taking $75,000 from the town’s unassigned fund balance, or surplus account, and using $16,300 from a rescue reserve account, to purchase that new first responder vehicle goes to voters Wednesday with the rest of the Town Meeting warrant.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Windsor Elementary School.

Secret-ballot voting on the fire truck purchase — and in races for election to town offices, which are all uncontested — will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Windsor Town Hall. The total proposed town budget is $1.8 million, up by about $70,000 from the current year’s budget, a 9.6 percent increase.

That budget figure includes the first payment, estimated at $46,500, on the proposed new fire truck purchase; so if the truck purchase is rejected, that $46,500 would come back out of the budget, according to Theresa Haskell, town manager.

Haskell said officials are hopeful that the town’s total property valuation has increased enough, with the addition of a large new Central Maine Power Co. substation, to bring in enough revenue to offset the increase in the budget.

The valuation has not been set yet, however.

The town’s current tax rate is $13 for every $1,000 of assessed property valuation.

Other new spending contributing to the budget increase includes the first $35,000 payment on a new plow truck proposed to be purchased, with $175,000, in a warrant article going to voters at Wednesday’s meeting.

Bates said the new truck would replace an older, unreliable truck that has been troublesome for the town for years, frequently breaking down because of problems with its computerized systems.

Voters will be asked to approve borrowing the $175,000 for that truck.

They also will be asked to approve using $107,000 the town already has on hand, in a public works truck reserve account, to buy another, smaller new public works truck.

He said the 2-ton truck would be a new addition to the public works fleet and take on duties now handled by a 1-ton truck, to lessen the load on the smaller truck and, Bates said, better meet the town’s needs.

A revised Budget Committee Ordinance also goes to voters for approval. Bates said an ordinance change is proposed that would let people who work for the town serve on the Budget Committee, as long as they recuse themselves from deliberations when the committee is discussing the departments in which they work.

He said the current ordinance bans anyone on the town’s payroll from serving on the Budget Committee.

The Town Meeting this year was moved to a Wednesday night from the previous Saturday morning meetings because of low turnout at the Saturday meetings.

“We moved it to Wednesday night in an attempt to improve turnout,” Bates said. “Selectmen encourage everyone to come to the Town Meeting (Wednesday) and get out and vote Tuesday.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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