Yarmouth public garage vote pushed to September; new fire chief appointment recommended

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YARMOUTH — The town council will hold a public hearing on the $2.3 million public works garage proposal after a presentation from the town planner introduced more questions about the project at council workshop Thursday, Aug. 2.

The council will hold two more public hearings on the subject, the first Aug. 20, and the second in early September. The council will need to vote on the project by Sept. 20 to allow time to put the proposal on the November ballot, Town Manager Nat Tupper said.

The new proposal for the North Road garage was scaled back significantly from earlier projections that carried a price tag of about $7 million. The smaller project will add two new bays for washing and maintenance and buy land adjacent to the property to allow for expansion in the future.

The initial plan had a much larger vision that included building a new facility and moving two sports fields to make room for the larger facility.

The current garage, built in the 1960s, handles all maintenance for town vehicles and equipment. It also acts as the operation base for the snow plows in the winter.

Also discussed at the workshop was the appointment of a new fire chief for Yarmouth Fire and Rescue.

Michael Robitaille, the acting chief, was recommended by Tupper to become the permanent chief after he replaced 16-year chief Byron Fairbanks at the beginning of the year.

“He’s been acting very well and we want to give him the chance to work in the role permanently,” Tupper said.

The council will vote on the appointment at their Aug. 20 meeting.

At their next meeting, the council will also consider approving Yarmouth’s $15,000 share of a regional natural gas with Cumberland and Falmouth. The total cost of the study is $45,000, Tupper said. 

Although a natural gas pipeline already runs through the western part of Cumberland, a substation would need to be built to distribute the gas to the three towns. The cost of the station would be about $1.5 million and new gas distribution piping into the towns would cost about $350,000 per mile to build. The total estimated project cost is $7.8 million, Tupper said.

This total does not include the cost of conversion from oil or propane to gas within buildings or the cost of distribution lines off the main line into neighborhoods, he said.

At the workshop, the council also discussed improvements to the library’s infrastructure, such as installing new wiring and updating the bathrooms. The estimated cost of the project would be about $1.5 million, with $1 million funded by the town and the remaining $500,000 raised privately. 

A voting date was not set, but Tupper said the project will come back to the council in October for further review.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or wgraff@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.

 
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