TRENTON — The Trenton Board of Selectmen unanimously approved on July 13 a memorandum of understanding with the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport for a full-time firefighter, hired as an employee of the town, to be contracted to work 20 hours per week at the airport and 20 hours with the town’s fire department. The Hancock County Commissioners, the board that oversees the airport, approved the agreement prior to the Board of Selectmen’s meeting Tuesday.
Selectman Rachel Nobel raised some concerns that the language in the agreement was not clear enough and proposed making changes to ensure in part that the town would not pay more for its share of the agreement than the airport if the cost of the position were to increase. Board members discussed that the agreement could be amended at any time and that the position was only funded for the 2021-22 fiscal year, as approved by Trenton voters at the town’s June 12 annual meeting.
At Town Meeting, Trenton voters approved funding the town’s share of the position at $25,000. The total cost for the position is $50,000.
Selectman John Bennett said the agreement was a step that reflected the growth of the town’s fire department, which currently operates as a volunteer fire department, and its potential to expand.
“I think it’s a really good deal,” he said.
In other firefighting news, state Rep. Nicole Grohoski (D-Ellsworth), whose district includes Trenton, sponsored a bill that was signed into law July 9 that would update statute “to make sure that all firefighters in Maine have gear that is more than just ‘adequate’ but that also fits right and is up to national standards,” according to a Facebook post by Grohoski.
LD 1245, An Act to Ensure the Provision of Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment to Firefighters, requires fire departments, volunteer fire associations or fire districts to equip firefighters — and specifically mentions female firefighters — with gear that fits correctly and meets federal requirements.
“As a former volunteer firefighter, I know how critical it is to have gear that fits right,” Grohoski’s post reads. “It helps you move around efficiently on the fire ground and protects from carcinogenic exposure.”
“I’m delighted that LD 1245 is now law — we must protect those who protect us,” she said.