MEXICO — The 2021 Med-Care Ambulance budget will remain at $2.3 million for 2021, according to a unanimous vote by the board of directors. The expenses are offset by an estimated $2.3 million in revenue, giving the agency a balanced budget for the coming year. The subsidy for the 11-member towns will remain at $45 per capita.

Director Dean Milligan said the plan for 2021 is to pay the remainder of the three loans for ambulances, eliminating that debt.

“We kept the same patient revenue because COVID was kind of a weird year,” President Bob Chase said at Wednesday’s meeting at the agency’s headquarters at 290 Highland Terrace. “We think the revenue was a good projection but it just so screwed up by COVID. We adjusted our expenses so we know operational costs are up a little bit. We’re going to reduce our capital reserves equitably to balance the budget so we don’t have to generate more revenue.”

In 2020, the board approved a $17 subsidy increase, with much of it for operating costs.

Chase said he believes the financial condition of Med-Care is improved from a year ago.

“I think we’ve made some significant gains,” he said. “The subsidy increase was very important for us to get back on our feet. And that’s allowed us to pay down some debt, and to have operating cash on hand.”

Med-Care was also able to make ambulance upgrades in 2020 and doesn’t expect to need one in 2021.

“That’s reduced maintenance costs.” Chase said. “We’re in a much sounder financial position with regard to cash on hand to cash flow, and our fleet is much more stable — newer and more reliable.”

The 2021 per capita subsidy for the 11 member towns totals $705,105, based on a population of 15,660. Populations and subsidies are: Andover, 813, $36,585; Byron, 146, $6,570; Canton, 910, $40,950; Carthage, 550, $24,750; Dixfield, 2,458, $110,610; Hanover, 237, $10,665; Mexico, 2,607, $117,315; Newry, 334, $15,030; Peru, 1,539, $69,255; Roxbury, 353, $15,885; Rumford, 5,722, $257,490.

Med-Care Ambulance Director Dean Milligan. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

Opening the meeting at the Med-Care headquarters where directors wore masks and social distanced, Chase said, , “These are incredibly trying times for everybody, for the first responders and our EMS providers, in particular. For the board, it’s important that we recognize the strain and hardship they’re under and to try to support to the best extent that we can.”

Milligan said a large percentage of calls are for people who are known to be infected with COVID-19 so responders know what they’re facing.

“And they know they’re going to be in the back of that ambulance, small space, 45 minutes to an hour, with a person who is positive,” Milligan said. “We’re still doing everything that we can, but there’s always that fear, even if you have everything on.”

“I can’t say how proud I am of the staff and how they’re managing it,” he said.

The majority of directors voted to give Milligan a 2% raise for 2021, bringing his annual salary to $75,245, according to Treasurer Jim Pulsifer of Peru.

The board also voted to form a committee to negotiate the terms of the director’s contract.

Personnel Chairwoman Cheryl Dickson said as a result of the yearly evaluation of the director, the Personnel Committee rated Milligan’s performance as superior, while the Executive Board rated Milligan’s performance as satisfactory.

The Personal Committee recommended Milligan work closer with Deputy Director Paul Landry and give him more tasks so Milligan has more time for other tasks that may arise.

The board voted unanimously the retain the same officers for the next fiscal year: President Bob Chase of Rumford, Vice President Reggie Arsenault of Mexico, Secretary Carol Roach of Peru and Pulsifer.


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