JEFFERSON — Jefferson residents will consider purchasing a new fire truck — to replace two that are more than 30 years old — and approve the town budget at the Town Meeting on Tuesday.

The proposed replacement would be both a pumper truck and a rescue vehicle, replacing a 1987 pumper the town bought used in 2010 and a 1989 pumper that the town used for more than 30 years after buying it new. The latter vehicle was recently placed out of service because it needs mechanical repairs, according to Fire Chief Walter Morris.

“We’re looking to replace two trucks with this one,” he said. “Both the old trucks are showing their age; we can’t get replacement parts for them anymore. They’re tired. The new truck is designed to do the functions of both those trucks.”

The new truck is expected to cost around $540,000, none of which would come from new tax dollars.

The cost of the new truck would be paid for with up to $200,000 from the town’s unreserved surplus account and $353,000 from the town’s fire truck reserve account — if voters approve of using those two sources of funds via a secret ballot Tuesday.

Morris said that account has been building since 2005, the last time the town bought a brand new fire truck. Officials and residents have agreed to put funds into it each year so the town doesn’t have to go into debt to buy the new truck.

“We’re fortunate in that previous chiefs, working with the selectboard, in the past were wise enough to create an apparatus reserve fund,” Morris said. “So this will have no impact on the tax rate in town. That’s a good thing. Many communities borrow money (to buy a new fire truck). Fortunately, the folks back 15 years ago were forward-thinking and put us in a good position now.”

He said a truck committee has been meeting for about a year to plan what to buy, making visits to other departments and determining what features it should have. Among the characteristics they looked for was a connection on the front to make it easier to draw water from lakes, ponds and dry hydrants. Those are the sources of water rural towns without public water systems and hydrants rely upon for water to fight fires.

Including the fire truck funds, residents will be asked to approve the expenditure of up to about $1.5 million in funds at Town Meeting, which is taking place via secret ballot voting. Polls are scheduled to be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Jefferson Village School.

Some of that $1.5 million would come from the town’s surplus account, which is largely made up of funds unspent in previous years, and from state grant funding.

Gregory Johnston, chairman of the selectmen, could not be reached for comment on the budget going to voters at the upcoming Town Meeting.

According to the warrant, proposed spending increases include $23,600 more for salaries, at $215,205; $7,800 more for the transfer station, at $95,070; and $2,000 more for auditing, at $20,800.

There is also a proposal to spend $14,250 to study what parts of town are unserved by high-speed internet and authorize selectmen to accept and spend grant funds the town receives for broadband improvements. An explanation in the warrant notes $8,250 of that money would pay for the creation of accurate maps and other documents showing the areas of town not served by high-speed internet, an infrastructure gap analysis, and network design to fill those gaps. Of that amount, $6,000 would pay for service provider negotiations, including creating a request for proposals to provide high-speed internet to unserved areas of town.

Residents will also elect local officials at the polls, although all races are uncontested. They include: one selectboard member, Pamela Grotton; four Budget Committee members Wayne Farris, Lisa Hodgkins, Blaine Kimball and Bruce Sedwick; one two-year term on the School Committee, Danielle Bernier; and one three-year term on the School Committee, Wayne Parlin.


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