A fire inside the town's roll-off trash collection truck may have been its last gasp.

Town Manager James Gillway sought selectmen's approval to spend $60,000 toward the purchase of a pre-owned replacement for the truck at the June 4 board meeting.

According to Gillway, the current vehicle was the town's garbage truck "many, many, years ago," and recently experienced a fire under the dashboard.

"It took out some of the instrumentation, which the garage crew was able to put back together. It does function, but we really do need to replace it," Gillway said.

The new vehicle is a 2007 International with 155,000 miles, Gillway said, adding that the mileage is low for this type of truck. The asking price is $40,000 but it will need to be adapted for roll-off duties at an estimated cost of $17,000, he said.

Gillway suggested using $60,000 — that includes a $3,000 cushion — from the Transfer Station Reserve Fund because "there's always miscellaneous things that come along."

Wastewater grants

The town has received $1.6 million in grants for work on its wastewater treatment plant and has applied for a half-million more in funding, Gillway said.

A salary survey will be necessary before the town applies for a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant that is slated to cover 60% to 80% of the cost.

"As that money continues to come in, we're looking better at getting the job done in the next year and a half to two years," Gillway said.

The entire project, including line extensions and plant rebuild, Gillway said, will cost "just over $10 million."

"This is something we need to do," he said. "The plant is 32 years old and breaking down."

Promoting Searsport

To promote the benefits of Searsport for business start-ups, selectmen approved spending $2,200 toward continued advertising with a full-page and a quarter-page ad in Mainebiz magazine.

Gillway said the money will come from tax increment financing, also known as TIF, funds rather than from taxation. He said he has heard positive feedback about the ads when he's been "out and about."

"I've had people point it out," he said.

Downtown parking

A preliminary sketch plan for downtown parking is complete and, according to Gillway, "looks great." He said there is potential to add about 25 parking spots with the use of a leased lot from Penobscot Marine Museum and the purchase of another adjacent lot from a private landowner.

Specifics of the lease and potential purchase of the lot from the private owner were not discussed further at the meeting.

Police Chief Richard LaHaye asked if signs could be installed at Tozier's Market to direct drivers to the town lot. He said he expects more off-street parking will be helpful in winter months, which has been an issue in the past for plow crews.

Gillway said he would have crews put signs up in the near future.