DRESDEN — Residents will vote Monday to whether trade in a firetruck, accept a donation and transfer funds in order to buy a used ladder truck from a company that employs the town’s fire chief.

Town residents will decide whether to trade in 33-year-old Engine 5 for $6,000, accept a $2,000 donation from the Dresden Fire Association and allocate $3,000 from the town’s Fire Department Equipment budget to fund the purchase of a used ladder truck for $11,000 from Massachusetts-based emergency vehicle dealership Greenwood Emergency Vehicles LLC.

Dresden Fire Chief Steve Lilly, who brought the proposal detailed on the warrant to the selectmen last month, is the parts and service shop foreman for Greenwood’s Brunswick location, according to the company’s website.

Lilly said he approached selectmen with the proposal after he learned a 1994 Ferrara ladder truck, previously used in Bar Harbor, was being traded in.

When asked if he thought his roles with the town and Greenwood were problematic, he said the only beneficiary from the new ladder truck is the town of Dresden, because the company is selling the truck to the town at cost. He added that the Dresden trade-in will be used for a loaner for departments that need support while their trucks are serviced.

“(Greenwood) is not making any money on the truck; they have not marked it up at all,” Lilly said. “That’s how we’re getting such a good deal on it.”

When asked if the town could have gotten a similarly favorable deal with another company, he said he was not sure. Lilly said the truck is worth “way more” than the price the town is paying.

“I’m not 100 percent sure how other companies work,” he said. “Looking around, you don’t see fire apparatuses for that kind of price.”

Town Administrative Assistant Michael Henderson told the Kennebec Journal that Lilly has been the only contact point with Greenwood and there are no documents about the deal. Lilly said there has been little discussion between the town and Greenwood.

When asked about the appearance of a conflict of interest, Henderson said it was a “valid point to bring up” but declined to comment further. He said no other town official has said “anything specific” about a conflict of interest.

Selectman Allan Moeller said Tuesday that he has heard rumblings within the community about a perceived conflict of interest when Dresden’s trucks are worked on at Greenwood. However, he maintained that selectmen are keeping a close eye on the prices and concluded they seem reasonable.

“I know it seems to be (a conflict of interest), but I personally don’t have a problem with that,” Moeller said. “If you can get things done at a good price, I agree with it.”

“We never would have learned about this truck if Steve (Lilly) didn’t work for them,” he added.

Bar Harbor Treasurer Stan Harmon said the town traded in the old truck in the same transaction in which they purchased a new one. An Aug. 8, 2017, bid summary said the project was advertised to include a trade-in allowance with the total cost of a new firetruck. Greenwood was awarded the contract based on a $695,827 bid.

Harmon said he did not know the exact trade-in value worked into the bid.

The town has been trying to sell Engine 5, a 1985 Spartan pumper truck, for $5,000 for the last five years. It’s one of two pumper trucks in the fleet, but the other is 15 model years newer. Dresden Fire Association President and Firefighter Gorham Lilly said the department has used Engine 5 for 15 years and traveled to Pennsylvania to purchase the truck.

The Dresden Fire Association, a fundraising entity associated with department, raises money by selling concessions at events and its annual Christmas tree sale.

Moeller said Monday that Dresden was not looking actively for a ladder truck, as it can call Wiscasset or Gardiner departments for use of their ladder trucks, but the deal was too good to pass up.

“It’d be nice if you have a structure fire, instead of calling in another town,” he said. “Maybe a couple times of year, if that, we call for a ladder truck.”

Steve Lilly said Gardiner has a larger demand for its ladder trucks and Wiscasset’s ladder truck has a history of mechanical problems, so a truck in Dresden would be more reliable.

“We don’t have a huge call volume in our town, but that’s not to say it’s not a piece of equipment that wouldn’t be utilized,” he said, adding that surrounding communities such as Richmond and Pittston could benefit from the truck.

Gorham Lilly, who has been with the department for more than 50 years, said the department has a mutual aid agreement with all departments in Lincoln County, and responds to some calls in Sagadahoc and Kennebec counties. He said the department probably could go without the ladder truck, but having it on the fleet would make the town safer.

“You could go without anything,” Gorham Lilly said. “The safety reasons are good; I think it’s a good deal.”

Moeller said he might not support an outright purchase of a ladder truck if the deal wasn’t so favorable.

“If this wasn’t the deal that it is, I don’t think we would consider buying one,” he said.

The special town meeting will be conducted during the regular meeting of selectmen at 6 p.m. Monday at Pownalborough Hall.

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME

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