DRESDEN — Residents unanimously approved four articles that facilitated the trade-in of a pumper truck and the purchase of a used ladder truck Monday.

Administrative Assistant Michael Henderson said 61 voters attended the special town meeting and unanimously approved four articles for the purchase, including accepting a $2,000 donation and moving $3,000 from the town’s Fire Department Equipment budget to cover the cost of an $11,000 ladder truck. No money was raised through property taxes.

Town officials told the Kennebec Journal last month that the truck was not a necessity, but the deal was too good to pass up.

The trade-in and purchase will be handled by Greenwood Emergency Vehicles LLC, a Massachusetts-based company. That company employs Steve Lilly, the town’s fire chief, at its parts and service location in Brunswick. Lilly told the Kennebec Journal earlier this month that he approached selectmen with the proposal after he learned of a 1994 Ferrera ladder truck from Bar Harbor becoming available.

While town officials were aware that Lilly was employed by the company, Selectman Allan Moeller said it largely benefited the town positively by getting reasonable prices on service for the trucks, which is also handled by Greenwood.

“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.”

Lilly said it was not a conflict of interest because Greenwood is selling the truck at cost and not profiting directly from the traded-in 1985 Spartan Pumper Truck. The town received about $6,000 in trade-in value from the truck, despite the truck being available for sale at $5,000 for a few years.

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.”

The Dresden Fire Association, a fundraising entity tied to the department, donated $2,000 to the purchase. The association raises funds through selling concessions at events and other activities such as its Christmas tree sale.

Gorham Lilly, president of the fire association and firefighter for more than 50 years, said having a ladder truck makes the town safer. Previously, the closest ladder trucks were in Wiscasset and Gardiner.

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME


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