Fort Kent lowers tax rate, approves portable heater purchase

FORT KENT, Maine — The Fort Kent Town Council set the mill rate for the upcoming year and approved a public works purchase of a portable backup heater when it met Monday, July 25.

The town committed to a mill rate of 21, a slight reduction from the previous rate of 21.08. Property tax bills are expected to be delivered early next week.

Councilors also approved a request from public works director Tony Theriault to purchase a portable heater for a significantly lower price than it originally cost to manufacture.

Theriault had applied through the state to acquire a heater from GSAXess, a distributor of federal surplus items. Theriault was approved to purchase one of 18 trailer-mounted 400,000 BCU heaters at a cost of $750. The government initially paid nearly $19,000 for each of the units, which have been used from 3 hours to 300 hours at most.

“They’re basically new,” Theriault said.

The heater will serve as a backup to heat town buildings during emergency situations.

“If the furnace lets go, which happened to us a couple years ago, you don’t have to worry about your stuff freezing up,” Theriault said. “It’s trailer-mounted so in a matter of minutes you can hook it to your hitch and away you go.”

The heaters are located in Pennsylvania.

RF Chamberland of St. Agatha will deliver the furnace to Fort Kent during a return run through that state.

“Whenever I’ve called them they’ve never refused and they’re really good on their rates too, especially in today’s world we live in with fuel prices what they are,” Theriault said.

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