January 21, 2020

Guilford refuses fire contract for Willimantic

GUILFORD – Municipal officials agreed this week to opt out of contract talks with the town of Willimantic for fire protection.

Debbie Pettigrew, co-chairman of the Willimantic Board of Selectmen, asked Guilford selectmen last month if the town would extend fire protection coverage to Willimantic as it does for Abbot and Parkman.

Selectmen discussed the matter over the month and agreed Tuesday not to offer a contract since Monson, which now provides the service, is expected to offer Willimantic an acceptable contract, according to Guilford Town Manager Tom Goulette.

Pettigrew told selectmen last month that Monson intended to increase Willimantic’s contract in 2007 by a disproportionate amount. She said Willimantic’s year-round population is 135 and there have been only two fire calls in the last five years.

Robert Nicholson, Monson town manager, said Friday he had initially advised Pettigrew that the contract price would increase from $7,000 to about $20,000 a year, based on building valuations. Town officials have since scrapped the building valuation formula and have pegged Willimantic’s cost in 2007 at $10,000, he said. Nicholson said that figure is based on this year’s costs and could increase if a major purchase is needed.

Monson also provides coverage for Blanchard and Elliotsville and those contracts in 2007 will increase from $7,000 to $7,500 each, according to Nicholson.

In other business Tuesday, Guilford selectmen reviewed and adopted a policy for the placement of fixtures and signs on municipally owned property which includes streets and parks. The policy was sparked by a recent request from the Abaris Club. Goulette said members asked what, if any, recognition could be done for those in whose name memorial gifts were given at the Don Osborne Memorial Playground.

Under the policy, selectmen have the ultimate say about the placement of such items on town property. The policy also prohibits memorials from being erected in any building or on any premises that currently has been named for any other individual or group.

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