WEST PARIS – Selectmen decided Thursday to seek proposals from four ambulance services as well as a more open dialogue with Tri-Town Rescue.

Tri-Town is based in West Paris and provides coverage for the town, as well as Woodstock, Greenwood, Sumner and Milton Township.

Chairman Wade Rainey said the board will put out a request for proposals to Tri-Town, PACE Ambulance of Norway, Med-Care Ambulance Services of Mexico, and United Ambulance Service, which has stations in Lewiston-Auburn and Bridgton.

“We feel we have to give everyone a chance,” Rainey said.

“On top of that, someone else might have a better proposal,” Selectman Denny Henderson added.

The board will also send a letter to the Tri-Town board of directors and crew seeking a meeting with the town. Although Thursday’s meeting did not focus on legal issues at Tri-Town, Rainey said those issues were the reason the meeting was being called.

“We feel there are problems over at Tri-Town,” Rainey said. “We’re not sure we’re getting the service we deserve.”

The former chief of Tri-Town, Norman St. Pierre of West Paris, was fired June 19 as part of a reorganization of the service, creating friction between the service’s employees and its directors.

Allison Ross of Bridgton, the interim director of Tri-Town, asked that the crew be present at the proposed meeting between the town and the service’s board of directors.

“We haven’t been involved in any of those meetings,” Ross said.

Rainey said Thursday’s meeting was to gather input from the town on such issues as whether an ambulance needs to be stationed in West Paris. Residents said response time was a critical issue, with resident Bertha DeHaas crediting the service for helping her and her husband in medical emergencies.

“He wouldn’t have lived as long as he did without Tri-Town,” DeHaas said.

Residents also questioned whether costs would increase if the ambulance service was changed, whether a service could operate out of the fire station, and whether an ambulance would have to be established in West Paris if the town goes with another service.

The issue of ambulance coverage has been put before the other towns serviced by Tri-Town Rescue over the past week.

According to town officials, Tri-Town does not have a written contract with the areas it serves.

On July 31, Sumner selectmen made a conditional vote to accept coverage by PACE Ambulance over Tri-Town. Selectmen’s secretary Cynthia Norton said selectman Glen Hinckley was meeting with residents who were part of Tri-Town’s formation to see if they had any strong objection to a change.

She said selectmen should make a final decision on the matter after the annual town meeting Monday.

Both Greenwood and Woodstock discussed the issue at their meetings Tuesday, and both opted to stay with Tri-Town. Town Manager Kim Sparks of Greenwood said selectmen have worked with their representative on the Tri-Town board to draft new bylaws, but will be researching other options as well.

“Our selectmen said that they wanted to continue to support Tri-Town as long as it was viable,” Town Manager Vern Maxfield of Woodstock said.

Maxfield said the town will look into other options “only if we have to,” but said the town will seek coverage from PACE if Greenwood and West Paris decide to go with different services.

Dean Milligan, director of Med-Care, asked Oxford County commissioners earlier this year to contract with his service for coverage of Milton Township, as well as Grafton and Riley Townships, but commissioners have not moved forward with the request.



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