Greenwood approves dual ambulance negotiations

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GREENWOOD — Voters asked town officials to look into negotiations with two ambulance services during discussions at the annual town meeting Saturday.

The meeting included an article to see whether residents would enter into negotiations with Tri-Town Rescue, along with West Paris and Oxford County, to form an interlocal agreement to have the communities take over ownership and operation of the service. A second part of the article asked if the town would authorize the selectmen to enter into negotiations with PACE Ambulance.

Tri-Town is based in West Paris and serves that town as well as Greenwood, about two-thirds of Sumner, and Milton Township. PACE is based at Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway and took over coverage of Woodstock last year after voters opted to change their coverage from Tri-Town.

In a secret ballot, 62 voted in favor of negotiating with Tri-Town, while 13 were opposed. In a hand vote on the second part of the question, residents voted 32-31 in favor of entering negotiations with PACE.

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“So with that question, our voters have asked us to enter negotiations with both parties,” Town Manager Kim Sparks said.

Sparks said that once the negotiations have been completed, the question will come back to a special town meeting and voters will decide which service they prefer. If a Tri-Town agreement is approved, the service will go from a private corporation, with a board of directors representing the towns served, to a quasi-municipal organization.

West Paris previously approved negotiations with Tri-Town in a 65-32 vote. Cynthia Norton, administrative assistant for the town of Sumner, said selectmen were meeting with Lisa Buck, chief of Buckfield Rescue, and Town Managers John White of West Paris and Glen Holmes of Buckfield to hear proposals for rescue service in the town. She said Sumner’s annual town meeting will take place in August, but that neither Tri-Town nor PACE have made proposals to the town.

Residents also authorized the selectmen to apply for a $500,000 general obligation bond for road improvements. The bond would fund repairs to Greenwood Road, Rowe Hill Road, Gore Road, Vernon Street and Old County Road. Sparks said the process will have voters return to a special town meeting to approve interest rates and terms for the bond.

Voters approved a $1,027,302 budget recommended by the selectmen and Budget Committee. It includes $388,234 for the Highway Department, $30,000 for the Highway Department reserve account, $253,332 for the administrative budget, $85,000 for the transfer station, and $57,650 for the Fire Department.

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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