Woodstock-West Paris fire agreement needs tweak

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Woodstock Fire Station in Bryant Pond.

A new enhanced mutual aid agreement between the Woodstock and West Paris fire departments is close to final approval, pending a change requested by West Paris selectmen.

The enhanced aid plan calls for two department members from one town to staff their station and be responsible for coverage for both towns for two or three weekdays a week, with the other department picking up the remaining days.

Woodstock selectmen signed the new agreement July 17, according to Town Manager Vern Maxfield.

West Paris selectmen took it up July 26, according to Town Manager Wade Rainey. They are asking that Woodstock agree to drop a portion of the agreement that would also have the fire stations staffed on holidays. Rainey said they felt enough firefighters would likely be available in town on holidays.

Part of the reason for the agreement is the fact that many firefighters work out of town on weekdays and are not available or would have to travel a significant distance.

Maxfield said Monday he expects the Woodstock board to take up the West Paris request at the next board meeting, on Aug. 7.

The enhanced aid arrangement is similar to one Woodstock had with Greenwood for several years. Woodstock ended that agreement this spring, and had been staffing its own station every weekday.

Regular mutual aid, which is prevalent among most neighboring fire departments, remains in place between Woodstock and Greenwood. Under that format, firefighters respond to other towns to assist, but may not be staffing their stations at the time of the call.

Mil rate

In other business at their last board meeting, Woodstock selectmen 2018 mil rate was set at 12.80, the same as last year.

They also voted to list the town’s Trail’s End property with a real estate broker for three months in an attempt to get an acceptable offer for the 1.3 acre lot. Woodstock residents voted in March to sell the property, and the town has advertised it itself since.

Maxfield reported that the swim float at the town beach had been vandalized. When they removed it from the lake, the town crew found that a hole had been made in the side, causing it to sink.

The board authorized the purchase of a new float for $900. The board decided to consider funding in next year’s budget for security cameras or other possible measures.

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