Selectmen approve spending for police, fire equipment

By Dan West | Dec 23, 2013

Searsport — At their last meeting of 2013 the Searsport Selectmen approved the purchase of new computers for the police department and a new Thermal Imaging Camera for the fire department.

Selectmen met Dec. 17 and voted unanimously to approved $6,900 to purchase the new camera with the funds coming from the Fire Department's end of the year surplus.

Town manager James Gillway explained that the current Thermal Imaging Camera was around 15 years old and Fire Chief Andy Webster had previously requested replacing it. Gillway said the new cameras are significantly small and lighter making it easier for the firefighters to use.

Gillway said the camera is often used to find "hotspots" in homes when the firefighters could not see flames. Those hotspots could indicate fire inside the walls or in a closet. The camera has also been used in the past to help with search and rescue efforts, said Police Chief Dick LaHaye.

Gillway also told the selectman that the Police Department's computer system could no longer run the software it needs to receive information from the dispatcher. Gillway said that the Department's current computers run Windows XP, while the software they need to run — called the Spillman System — could only run on Windows 7 or newer operating systems.

Gillway said it would cost the town the same to upgrade its current computers as it would to purchase new ones, so suggested the Selectmen approve purchasing two new desktop computers, one laptop and upgrading the computers used in the police cruisers. The total cost would be around $3,500.

The Selectmen unanimously approved purchasing the computers using money from the Police Department budget and the Selectmen's contingency if necessary.

In other business

  • The selectmen approved a cost of living wage increase of 2-percent for the town employees.
  • Selectmen approved an increase its Time Warner Cable franchise fee from 4 to 5-percent.
  • Selectmen approved a proposed expansion plan for Bowditch Cemetery. Gillway explained that the expansion is the culmination of work to add an access path in that area several years ago.
  • Selectmen approved the establishment of a fee schedule for wind energy system applications. The town will charge $50 for a Class 1A facility, $100 for a Class 1B facility, and $1,000 per turbine for Class 2 and 3 facilities.
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