Selectmen question Med-Care’s construction plans

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MEXICO – The Med-Care Ambulance director and chairman of the organization’s board told selectmen Wednesday night that they are making plans to construct a larger building to house the emergency medical team’s equipment and living quarters.

The report by director Dean Milligan and Chairman Steve Brown was an effort to let selectmen know that if and when the new 10-year agreement is signed next year, some of the town’s cost may be for a new structure.

“We are letting all the towns know upfront that we are working on this,” Milligan said.

He said the new interlocal agreement is currently in the process of being completed for action by residents of the 11-member towns so that it will be ready for next year’s annual town meetings. The current agreement expires June 30, 2008.

“We really have outgrown our building,” said Brown of the Main Street, Mexico, facility.

Milligan said the building, despite additions, has enough room to store only four of the ambulance service’s 10 vehicles. He said the living space for employees is too small, and the lot is insufficient for further additions.

Selectmen questioned a 10-year commitment to pay for the new building if a member town should pull out of the agreement, and whether it was wise to build a structure now when talks have been held on the possibility of regionalizing all emergency services for Mexico and Rumford.

“If we do some regionalization, shouldn’t we do that before we commit to this?” asked selectmen’s Chairwoman Barbara Laramee.

Milligan said Med-Care has waited for such action, and he pointed out that his agency is a regionalization model since it was formed 19 years ago.

“We can’t wait,” he said.

He said, too, that the properties the Med-Care board are looking at have a sufficient amount of space to add on, should the two towns’ police and fire departments decide to be regionalized and housed under one roof with the ambulance service.

Town Manager John Madigan said Mexico pays $35,000 a year for the service. He also urged greater regionalization among the two towns.

“Our fire station is in the flood plain, Rumford has needed a new fire station for 20 years. Maybe this is the catalyst to do something,” he said.

Selectman Arthur Bordeau asked why a new agreement must be for 10 years.

Madigan said the agreement among the 11 towns for the service is not a contract, but instead, an indication that all towns are part owners of the service.

“It’s not realistic to have a five-year agreement because of the nature of the assets. They need to have some kind of duration for the entity to survive,” he said.

Milligan said, following the discussion, that his board’s architects will likely have a plan and estimated costs for a property that is centrally located sometime in mid-August. When a new facility is built, the current property would go on the market.

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