New Vineyard residents reject fire department expansion

first_imgNEW VINEYARD – Smith Hall drew a crowd Saturday morning for the town’s annual meeting, newly scheduled to take place in June.The 31-article warrant saw relatively minor changes, with town members opting not to fund the proposed expansion of the fire department grounds and several line items being adjusted only slightly. Six new town officers were nominated and voted into position, leaving two additional seats on the planning board open.Taking the place of Niilo Silanpaa III for a three year seat on the selectboard is Frank Foster, who won the vote with 36 votes. Foster was contested by nominations Gerard Lane and Carl Holbrook who received 29 and 6 votes respectfully.Earl Luce Jr. will sit on the planning board as an associate member for the next three years, while Lynn Ricardo and Linda Thurlow will sit as full time members for the next two years. Director of United Way of the Tri-Valley Area Lisa Laflin was voted in by town members to sit for the next three years on the Regional School Unit 9 board. Robert Silanpaa will serve as road commissioner for the next year.Article 4 was voted down by an overwhelming no from town members; the article requested authorization for selectmen to appropriate an amount not to exceed $15,000 from the undesignated account in case of emergencies. Several town members voiced concern over the “open check” approval the article would give selectmen, with one town member requesting that the board clarify what the undesignated account is and how much is in that account. Boardman Jeff Allen reported there is roughly $400,000 in the account and that although it is referred to by several different names throughout the warrant, it is one account that holds the town’s surplus funds.A request from the fire department to purchase a .85 acre parcel of land adjacent to the station was voted down by town members, who found the price of $30,000 excessive for the value of the land and intention of the department. The selectboard recommended passing the article, which would have appropriated $15,000 and used $15,000 from the undesignated funds account.The land at 33 Lake Street and owned by Scott Davis, was assessed at a value of less than $20,000 last year, Fire Chief Tom Holbrook reported. However, a structure on the property as well as a septic system and well brought that value up to $55,000. The septic and well, as well as additional land for the department, were the benefits in Holbrook’s eyes, who said the current well used by the department is no good.Holbrook also said the lack of space at the current department makes it difficult to train his staff. A staff member who was present at the meeting said the squad is currently taking the trucks either to the mill or to the post office parking lot for training.“We’re trying to make the department better. We’re doing it to protect all of you,” he said.Town members voiced concern over the high price, and questioned whether the water on Davis’ property had been tested, which nobody responded to.“A drilled well is no guarantee on a water test,” one resident said.last_img read more