Saturday afternoon, March 11, at the annual Industry Town Meeting Fire Chief Anthony Howard speaks about the Fire Department and a proposal to contract with Farmington Fire Rescue for services. Voters approved it 40-10. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

INDUSTRY — Voters at annual Town Meeting Saturday afternoon, March 11, approved two year-long contracts with the Town of Farmington, one for Farmington Fire Rescue Department to provide oversight and fire emergency response, the other for the use of Farmington’s transfer station.

The $30,000 contract for fire emergency response and oversight would not include emergency medical service calls unless NorthStar requested assistance. There is an opt-out clause for either party with three months notice or one month notice, if serious enough.

This is not an attempt to eliminate the Industry Fire Department, the select board is looking to enhance and support the department with additional personnel and oversight, Lee Ireland, first selectman said. Industry needs firefighters, – its numbers are at an all time low – it’s not just Industry, it’s Somerset County, the entire state, New England, he noted.

Second selectman Rob Geisser has been on the Industry Fire Department 25 years. It was a robust department when he was in his 20s, now he has rotator cuff issues in both shoulders, is wearing glasses and no longer does interior work at fires, he noted.

“We are aging out, nobody is stepping up,” Geisser stated. When air packs are used, there needs to be two people inside, two outside, Industry only has three people certified to use air packs, he added.

Several residents expressed concern that the town’s tanker might be housed at Farmington as part of the agreement which would reduce access to it in the evenings when more people are available to respond to calls.


It takes at least 10 minutes to get dressed and respond if a call comes in midwinter when vehicles might need to be cleared first, Geisser said. “Farmington has people there, ready to roll,” he noted.

Joe Paradis was Fire Chief in what Ireland considered the good years, when people could join the department without the training and mandates that are required now.

Things are different now than when regionalization was discussed several years ago, Paradis said. “Today is totally different,” he noted. Farmington is backed up by well trained personnel, just spent $800,000 on a new firetruck that will essentially be Industry’s if the contract is signed, he stated.

“I totally support this,” Paradis said. “The tanker doesn’t have to be first on scene. It’s going to be better, there will be a butt in the seat, it’s moving.”

Insurance companies rate every town on a scale of 1-10, Industry is 9, Selectman Stewart Durrell said. If the department staff numbers continue to go down, that could become a 10 and insurance premiums will double or more, he noted.

As a taxpayer in Farmington, Durrell said he was sick of paying to provide services to other towns.


Could Farmington contract with other towns and not be available to provide services for Industry in the future if voters wished to wait until more details were known, resident Susan Ruhlin asked.

“I want to be first at the table,” Ireland stated. The contract price with Farmington has been negotiated down, could lower more after a year of history is known on what services were provided, he noted.

A written ballot found 50 voting with 40 in favor and 10 opposed.

The $3,877 contract to use Farmington’s transfer station will allow Industry residents to dispose of mattresses, stoves and other bulky waste for a fee. Recyclable materials will be free.

The contract eliminates the need for a large trash day, the recycling attendant and a contract with Archie’s to rent a dumpster and remove recyclables left at the Industry Town Hall.

Archie’s price has gone up, is slow to pick up materials, Ireland said. The town is paying $10,675 for recycling, a large percentage dropped off is not recyclable and needs to be sorted out, he noted. Industry would save more than $6,000 annually, he stated.


Stickers or some other arrangement to identify Industry residents may need to be worked out, Ireland added.

Other results

The article to raise and appropriate $5,175 to contract with Archie’s was amended to $1,425, the amount that has already been spent this year. Industry will no longer need Archie’s services due to the contract approved to use Farmington’s transfer station.

Similarly, the amount to be raised for the recycling attendant was amended to $1,000. The attendant only works a few hours a week, performs other duties for the town, it was noted.

The sum of $200,000 was approved for summer and winter roads. In years when a lot of plowing isn’t needed the extra can be put towards summer road maintenance, Ireland stated. “We have come a long ways, a lot of gravel roads were impassable this time of year,” he added.

An article appropriating $67,935 from ARPA funds for a digital sign, hazard pay for employees who worked during the pandemic, and septic system replacement was amended to include “selectmen will hold a sign guidelines meeting 6 p.m. April 4.”


Selectmen have already ordered the sign that will replace a deteriorating wooden one at the town hall, categories where the funds could be spent were limited, Ireland said.

About $30,000 in ARPA funds remain, it was noted.

One resident stated $18,000 was a lot of money for a digital sign, was sick of seeing them everywhere.

Resident Dick Ruhlin said the assembly should have had a discussion with the board regarding sign details.

“I am 82 years old, I think it is great,” resident David Clark stated.

Another resident said they were in favor of anything that made Angelina Davis’ job easier. Town clerk, registrar of voters, treasurer and tax collector, one of her tasks was to change wording on the current sign as needed throughout the year.

People need to start coming to selectman meetings the first and third Tuesday, Durrell stated. “If you don’t like what we are doing, rally the troops,” he added.

Resident Beth Pelletier said $100,000 was a lot of money to spend without town input.

Saturday morning, Ireland received 24 votes for another three-year term as selectman. He was unopposed.

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