Firefighters convince selectmen to buy new truck from co-op

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro firefighters believe they can get the new fire truck voters authorized at the June 6 town meeting for the best price by going through a cooperative, instead of through the conventional bidding process. At the June 16 selectmen’s meeting, they presented information that convinced selectmen to endorse their plan.

According to department spokesman Michael Vashon and guest Frank Roma, the Houston- Galveston Area Council (HGAC), a regional organization with a purchasing arm that accepts members  from  all  over the country, negotiates with fire truck manufacturers and gets prices for bulk orders, saving money for purchasers.

Vashon said the Vassalboro firefighters plan to buy from E- ONE, a company that has done well by them in the past. A spe- cialist from HGAC will help them work with the company to get a truck that meets department specifications, he said. Even with HGAC’s $2,000 administra- tive fee, Vashon thinks the price will be lower than the town could get for the same truck bidding on its own.

To qualify for HGAC services Vassalboro needs to sign an interlocal   agreement. Selectmen unanimously  authorized  Town Manager  Mary  Sabins  to  sign such  an  agreement, and  unanimously voted to waive the normal bidding process in this case.

Roma, a former fire chief in Texas and in Auburn, Maine, said HGAC  facilitates  purchases  of other equipment as well as fire trucks.   The council has agreements with municipalities in every state but Hawaii, including several others in Maine. Vassalboro’s buying a fire truck through HGAC does not obligate the town to continue to use the buying cooperative, he said.

In other business June 16, selectmen began the process of appointing – mostly reappointing – members of town boards and committees, in anticipation of the new fiscal year that begins July 1. Sabins said she has an unusually long list of seriously overdue taxes. She urged property-own- ers to pay within the next month, to avoid the additional charges generated when 30-day notices are sent out July 20.

The manager said Codes Officer Richard Dolby is certified to rep- resent the town in court to deal with violations of town ordinances, with selectmen’s approval, thus eliminating the need to call on the town attorney. Selectmen unanimously approved. Sabins expects Dolby will notify them in advance when a situation arises requiring court action.

The June 30 Vassalboro selectmen’s meeting will be at 2:30 p.m., instead of the usual 7 p.m., to approve bills for payment before the fiscal year ends later that day.

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