New Ipswich Fire Chief Meredith Lund cites issues at fire station

  • The New Ipswich Fire Department Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/17/2021 12:02:54 PM

According to Fire Chief Meredith Lund, the fire station has several unaddressed issues, including mold from poor ventilation. 

“We are landlocked and can’t expand; we’ve got equipment in a Conex box and vehicles living outside,” she said during Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting. “It’s like everything else. We’ve been kicking the can down the road for so long.”

Lund is also hoping to fix a flashing light over the road that is supposed to turn red to let trucks out during an emergency. 

“The light is there but we don’t have the capability to turn it red,” she said. “It’s a blind spot. That’s a safety issue.”

“We did our walkabout and I think we could prioritize some of these items,” Selectman Jason Somero said. 

The board is hoping a few of the tasks can fall under the custodian’s budget, since it was not used up entirely last year.

“If we can get them back to close to 100%,” said Selectman Bert Hamill, “then we could maybe get 15 more years out of [the fire station] instead of just two or three.”

Lund said the fire station is a great building compared to the many she has seen, but she would like to see a long-term goal for a new safety complex. 

“Emergency management is in the basement of the town office,” she said. “The police department is across the street in an office and we’re in a fire station where there’s no room for growth. We’ve lived with it for so long, but I’m always hoping there’s a plan in sight for forward motion.”

Regarding the budget, interim Town Administrator Jim Coffey said it would take a few more weeks to go over drafts, specifically large items such the fire, police and highway departments.

“We anticipate having those ready to present to the selectmen this month,” he said. “Our first objective was to get a tax rate out and the tax bills just went out the other day, so that goal was met.”

Selectmen reviewed a draft of the town budget Tuesday night, and the budget hearing will be in January. Once the budget is finalized, it will be voted on at the Town Meeting deliberative session the second Tuesday in March.

In other matters, the board will continue its search for a new town administrator and will start scheduling interviews with qualified applicants. Currently, the position is listed on the New Hampshire Municipal Association website.

The Zoning Board is also looking to fill a position, and selectmen tabled appointing a replacement until next week.

“The vacancy on the zoning board has gone on for quite a while,” said Hamill. “We’d like to make sure they have the credentials or at least enthusiasm to do the job. The board is looking at selecting an interested and qualified person.”


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