NEW GLOUCESTER — The town will begin its first ambulance transport service Monday, Nov. 18.

A 2006 Ford E450 bought for $1 from Sugarloaf Ambulance in September will be used until the town finds a more suitable vehicle, selectmen agreed Monday night.

At the board meeting, members of the New Gloucester Budget Committee and Capital Improvement Planning Committee spoke in opposition to asking voters for more money to buy either a demo ambulance for $138,535 or a lightly used one for $98,000. The cost would be offset by $70,000 in a dedicated account.

The ambulance was previously owned by the town of Buxton and had been in an accident with a ladder truck. When the town is finished with it, it must be sold back to Sugarloaf Ambulance for $1.

Selectmen have full authority over $1 million in the Pineland TIF account, but won’t release any of that money for the ambulance purchase.

The TIF allows for purchases of fire equipment, fire Chief Gary Sacco said after the meeting. The Fire Department capital reserve account has $330,000, he said.

“Why didn’t we go for a new vehicle at the time (of the town meeting in May)?” former Selectman Jeff Hamilton asked.

Chong Ae Berry of the Budget and Capital Improvement Planning committees asked if the 2006 ambulance would last until the town meeting in May.

Beverly Cadigan, vice chairwoman of Capital Improvement Planning Committee, said she reviewed all the tapes of selectmen meetings dealing with the ambulance search.

“Why are we in such a hurry?” she asked. “I don’t think we have a lot of extra money hanging around. I’d be embarrassed to bring this to the people.”

Budget Committee and Capital Improvement Planning Committee member Larry Zuckerman said, “Until we get our feet wet and we have time, depending what vendors will do for us, it may get us to spring and we can look. It’s premature to go to a special town meeting.”

“We don’t have an emergency. We don’t have a crisis. We don’t need a special town meeting,” Budget Committee member George Colby said.

Tami Wayboer, vice chairwoman of the Budget Committee, said, “I’m heavily offended. I’m aghast to how we would look at new units now.”

Selectman Josh McHenry said with the funds allotted, the only path the town can take is with a heavily used ambulance.

“If your life depended on that, would you want that truck?” he asked.

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