Limestone approves purchase of new plow truck

3 weeks ago

LIMESTONE, Maine — Limestone is expected to have a new plow truck by next winter.

On Wednesday, the Select Board gave Highway Foreman Spencer Keiser the green light to purchase a 2025 International HX 520 plow truck for $259,000 from Hermon-based Daigle & Houghton. It includes $154,500 for the truck, $88,344 for plow gear from Viking Cives, based in Lewiston, and an extended warranty of $16,400.

The town also received the following total bids: $227,544 from Daigle & Houghton for a 2026 International HV 507 plow truck; $237,445 from New England Kenworth for a 2025 1480 Series truck; and $267,468 from Freightliner of Maine for a 2025 Western Star 47X. All totals included the trucks, plow gear and extended warranties.

In December, residents approved spending no more than $260,000 on a new plow truck, which the board and Keiser said is badly needed.

“The oldest truck we use for plowing is a 2005 Mack. It’s the last one that the town purchased new,” Keiser said. 

The town will most likely receive its new truck by late fall or early winter 2024, Keiser said.

In other business, the Select Board agreed to pursue a potential contract with the Portland-based CGIS Solutions to create digital Geographic Information System mapping for Limestone’s tax parcel maps.

Interim Town Manager Alan Mulherin said that CGIS owner Ray Corson gave an initial estimate of $7,500 to set up the maps online and $2,500 to maintain the system, but Mulherin will confirm the final costs with Corson before the Select Board votes.

Limestone Water & Sewer District also used CGIS to set up its own online maps, Mulherin said.

Currently, all of Limestone’s property records are handwritten tax cards, which tax assessor Brandon Saucier updates by hand when ownership or tax values change. Saucier keeps his own database for property records but said that a GIS map would keep all those records in one place.

Public GIS maps would allow users to click on each parcel and get information on properties, including tax value, owners, property lines and zoning, Saucier said.

“Once the maps are up, it will be easier for people to find the information and will save me and the town office a lot of phone calls,” Saucier said.

The Select Board agreed to also move forward with a full tax revaluation, which Saucier said will add more information to the GIS maps. The town has not conducted a full revaluation in 22 years, which could mean that some property values might be lower or higher than they should be.

As part of a tax revaluation, an assessor would visit all properties in town, speak with the owners and inspect features like plumbing, heating systems and quality of the homes’ craftsmanship to get a more accurate tax value, Saucier noted.

Mulherin said he currently expects the revaluation to cost roughly $50,000, the amount that voters approved during the special town meeting in December.

The Select Board also voted unanimously to let voters decide the fate of Trafton Lake Campground during the annual town meeting in June.

The campground took in $12,000 but cost the town $26,000 to maintain. With no one to manage the property or make repairs, the estimated costs to fix electrical wiring, repair plumbing and remove trash and unused refrigerators could cost the town thousands, said Board Chairperson Randy Brooker.

No one has come forward with interest to buy or lease the property from the town, Mulherin said. The town rejected one offer last fall, per their attorney’s recommendation.

Board member Irma Labreck said that a town vote could give Trafton one more chance to be redeveloped.

“I’d hate to see Trafton close. Once you close a business, it’s hard to reopen it,” Labreck said. “We should at least try to lease the campground.”

Trafton Lake spans 85 acres while the campground is another 49 acres. The current tax value is $50,000.

The board approved a $12,915 agreement with Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office for police dispatch services. Both the Sheriff’s Office and Maine State Police have been patrolling Limestone since the town disbanded its police department last spring.