OXFORD — Despite concerns voiced by some members of the community, residents voted 18-9 at an August 1 special town meeting to keep a 2003 PL Custom ambulance for the Fire/Rescue Department.

The concerns focused on a change to what then-Fire Chief Gary Sacco told residents at the 2018 town meeting.

“At the time, it was said all three were worn out and we needed to get rid of them,” one resident said. “We were told we needed two. Why are we keeping a third?”

Fire Chief Paul Hewey said it would be used as a spare and would not be in regular service.

Two 2016 ambulances from Autotronics of Bangor were recently delivered to the department. Hewey said the total cost of the two new, leftover models was $300,000.

Hewey said he planned to track how many times the ambulance is put into service over the next year to determine whether a third ambulance is necessary.


“Thirty times in the last seven months there have been back-to-back calls,” he said.

Chairman Scott Hunter said he suggested keeping the ambulance.

“As you know, I also work over there,” he said. “Several times since that ambulance has gone out of service, we’ve had back to back calls. Two calls were handed to PACE, so you’ve lost revenue there.”

The department bills $680 for a basic call. Town Manager Butch Asselin said about $230,000 was billed for ambulance services in 2018. About $100,000 of that was unable to be collected and was written off.

Hunter said patient care transport could be delayed if a second call came in while one ambulance was in service. “If you have to go to a call on this end of town and the other ambulance is at the north end station, we have to travel to get the other ambulance and then come back down here,” he said. “My thought on why we should keep a second ambulance is because of that scenario. It has happened more times than you think.”

Autotronics has a loaner program in place in case one of the ambulances needed to be taken out of service for mechanical work.


Hunter said he spoke with other towns and learned loaner vehicles may not always be available. Loaner ambulances do not come with radios, equipment or supplies.

“Yes, it is going to cost us some money,” he said. “It is going to cost fuel, oil changes and maybe some maintenance. But it is something we already own.”

Selectperson Samantha Hewey said the board determined it would cost an estimated $2,000 a year to maintain the ambulance.

“It doesn’t make any sense to get rid of that piece of equipment if it is going to end up proving that it is needed,” Sharon Jackson said.

Hewey did not know the value of the three used ambulances. The other two ambulances, which were replaced last year, will be sold through a bidding process.

In other matters, voters accepted a gift of 11 parcels — totaling about 17 acres — from John Schiavi. The property off Roller Rink Road will be used for a business park managed by the Oxford Economic Development Committee.

During a special town meeting Thursday, Aug. 1, Oxford voters approved accepting a gift of 11 lots from John Schiavi for the creation of a business park.

Creation of a Business Park Capital Reserve Fund was approved. Sale proceeds of parcels within the Schiavi Business Park will be appropriated to the account. The selectboard is authorized to expend reserve funds on business park capital projects.

Also approved were amendments to the shore-land zoning and subdivision ordinances.

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