Livermore voters to decide on money to replace furnace, tanks

The furnace, oil tank and hot water tank need to be replaced at Brettuns Community Building on Church Street in Livermore. Voters will be asked to approve spending $5,000 from town funds to go towards the repairs. Since this photo was taken several years ago, the steps have been replaced, a railing installed, and roof shingles replaced. File photo/Livermore Falls Advertiser

LIVERMORE — Selectpersons Thursday night, Feb. 17, approved a town meeting warrant article seeking approval of $5,000 to help replace the furnace, oil, and hot water tanks at Brettuns Community Building.

The annual town meeting will be held by referendum vote 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at the Spruce Mountain Primary School, Gibbs Mill Road.

The last couple of years because of COVID, the Livermore Community Building Association hasn’t raised as much money, association president Tim Cox said. Expenses are being paid, but they can’t come up with the extra, he said.

Selectpersons Thursday night, Feb. 17, agreed to ask voters to approve $5,000 for repairs at the Brettuns Community Building in Livermore at the annual town meeting April 26. Pictured from left are Livermore Community Building Association members Rene Grondin, Paul Litalien, president Tim Cox, treasurer Pat Litalien, Patricia Cox, Sandra Grondin, and Fire Chief Donald Castonguay. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

In 2014, the voters approved leasing the building on Church Street to Friends of Livermore for $1 per year for 99 years. In 2015, the lease was signed with the Livermore Community Center Association.

Since then, the building has been insulated, indoors painted, and three quarters of the roof repaired, Cox said.

“We’ve been maintaining our end as much as we can,” Cox said. “This is a pretty big hit.”

There were 35 rentals of the building last year with 29 for Livermore residents, he said.

People from all over Maine have called about renting the building, association treasurer Pat Litalien said. “The word is out there, we don’t advertise it.”

Rental fees are $50 for Livermore residents, $75 for non-residents, she said. There are more than 20 rentals this year, she noted. Renters are expected to clean up, take trash with them, she added.

“Clubs and other groups use it, donating money towards upkeep,” Cox noted. Alcohol isn’t allowed which has cost some rentals but is safer, he added.

Litalien spoke of an instance where a baby shower was held there with a birthday party held every year since.

“We pump water for the town garage and library,” Cox said. “Two to three years ago the furnace quit right after new bathrooms were installed. We had to replace the lavatories, sinks.”

A well on the building property provides water to the town garage behind the building and the town library across Church Street. Some town records are stored in the building which still has voting booths and chalkboards from when it was a school.

If the association had a non-profit number, it could apply for grants, Selectperson Scott Richmond said.

“It’s what we should be aiming for,” association member Sandra Grondin said. “It costs money.”

Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller spoke of a new grant program through the Governor’s Office of Policy and Innovation and the Future. The Community Resilience Partnership will provide $4.75 million over the next two years to fund projects that reduce energy use, he said.

With the amount of work needed, being ready for the first round in March would be difficult, Miller said. “The second round in September is more reasonable. I would be happy to work with you folks and the board moving forward.”

The grants are capped at $50,000 per town or $100,000 for collaboration with another town, Miller said.  The town could use it for changing the lights (at the town office/fire station complex) and at the Brettuns Community Building, he noted.

Cox estimated $500 to $600 for new bulbs. He said that is one of the things he has been aiming for.

Bake sales held at the building average from $500 to $700, Litalien is willing to use sales towards repair costs, she said.

Almost $10,000 has been put into the building [since 2015], not including materials and supplies donated by area businesses, she said.

What if the town put up half the money — it will have to go before voters, Richmond said.

The grant could still be worked on, Miller noted.

Selectperson Tracey Martin suggested seeking $5,000.

“That would be good,” Cox said. “I think we could raise the rest, just have to work a bit harder.”

On Feb. 1 Selectpersons were told the 40-year old furnace needed to be replaced and the fuel tank and hot water heater are rusted. Three estimates to replace the furnace ranged from $5,000 to $11,000 but didn’t include the other items, they were told. 

In March 2015 the town leased the building to the Livermore Community Center Association for $1. The selectpersons voted then to execute the Community Center lease as written.

At the last meeting Selectpersons tabled any decision as they wanted more information on the lease.

In other business, the board voted 3-1 to accept the Butter Hill Road easement agreement with landowners Sherry L. Estes and Mark A. Luse for a turnaround and to pay them $250. Selectpersons Martin, Richmond and Randy Ouellette approved, Chairman Mark Chretien was opposed, and Selectperson Brett Deyling was absent.

“Sherry Estes asked us to pay $250 for the easement,” Miller said prior to the vote.

The money will be taken from the legal account.

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