Greenwood: Voters change ambulance service


GREENWOOD — Voters at town meeting Saturday agreed to keep the town hall, at least temporarily, and to discontinue Tri Town Ambulance services.

About 75 voters turned out at the American Legion post on Gore Road to pass a $1.1 million budget.

In the most controversial discussion of the meeting, proponents of a plan to keep the local Tri Town Ambulance and Rescue in town at a cost of $12,030 were defeated on a 34-37 vote, in favor of using PACE ambulance service from Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway.

The change in service requires no town-wide stipend and ensures around-the-clock paramedic coverage, proponents said.

Tri Town Ambulance has served the town for the past three decades. Assistant Chief John Hammel said changes had been made, such as providing five highly trained paramedics on weekday shifts. But voters rejected the motion, some asking why they would pay $12,030 when they could get a better level of staffing through PACE for no town subsidy.

“There are 81 properties off the tax rolls (this year),” one resident said. “That tells me people can’t pay anything.”

Although Hammel conceded that the organization had its troubles, both budgetary and structurally, in the past several years, he said they were operating in the black and had increased the level of trained personnel. The nonprofit organization passes the benefits it gets from the town subsidy on to its customers, he said.

“I wouldn’t be here if Tri Town wasn’t the best fit for the town,” Hammel said. The organization serves Sumner and part of Buckfield and West Paris.

Dave Goodwin, a PACE employee, said PACE is trying to do what’s best for Greenwood. “Skip the middleman and go to the free service,” he said. PACE does not charge towns but gets paid through billing customers.

In other business, voters agreed to keep the town hall while a study is conducted to determine how much it will cost to remove mold in the building, including the kitchen area. Officials know it will cost up to $90,000 to shore up the building and put gravel and a slab beneath to get it out of the water.

Meeting moderator Vern Maxfield said a committee would be formed to study what needs to be done and the matter would go back before town meeting voters.

Voters also approved establishing an enhanced mutual fire department pact with Woodstock that would provide two firefighters during the weekday shifts at either the Woodstock or Greenwood fire stations on a rotating basis. The plan would be paid through the fire departments’ budgets, including a downgrade of the fire chief’s pay in Greenwood.

Fire Chief Albert Curtis Jr. said the idea was “a work in progress,” but the move would ensure minimal coverage during a daytime fire, something that many small towns in the area are dealing with now.

Arnold Jordan was re-elected to serve a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen and Tammaller Goodwin was elected to serve on the SAD 44 board of directors.

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