Mark Beauregard

The Rangeley Selectmen received information about the operation and cost of emergency medical services (EMS) at their February 21st meeting.  Mike Senecal, Director of North Star Emergency Medical Services attended the meeting to inform Board members about the Town’s increased cost for the next fiscal year.  One of the North Star EMS five strategically located bases is at the Rangeley Public Safety Building which is attached to the Town Office.  North Star provides ambulance service to the Town of Rangeley and the surrounding area.  Their average response time for this area which includes Wilsons Mills and Saddleback Mountain is fourteen minutes.
North Star uses a demographic formula to fairly and equitably distribute the cost of their operating deficit among all of the towns and counties it serves.  Implemented cost savings and efficiencies have not been able to counterbalance all of the rising costs of wages, fuel and medical supplies.  Rangeley’s cost will rise by 30% to a total of $91,863.00.  This is an increase of $21,356.00.
Providing emergency medical services is problematic for many areas around the state with some communities describing it as a crisis.  The State of Maine has created a Blue Ribbon Commission to evaluate emergency medical service operations.  The Commission will look into current billing policies, insurance coverages and logistical challenges before making recommendations designed to keep EMS operations viable.
Prior to the official start of the meeting the Selectmen toured the newly purchased fire truck which recently arrived.  The new Pierce truck replaces the old Engine #3.  The compartments on the right-hand side of this new Engine #3 contains technical rescue gear including jaws of life and hazmat containment materials.  The left-hand side of the vehicle is equipped with firefighting gear and the controls for the pump.  This pumper truck carries 1,000 gallons of water, seats six people, has a speed governor set at 63mph and cost $649,000.00.
The Selectmen voted to accept the revaluation proposal for all Town property from RJD Associates.  This total revaluation is expected to be completed in 2026.  RJD Associates is currently contracted with the Town of Rangeley to provide assessing services.
The Board agreed with Town Manager Joe Roach’s recommendation to use the $50,000.00 (no match) Climate Resiliency Plan Grant to update the Highway Garage heating system.  Money remaining from the installation of the energy efficient heating system will be used to conduct an energy audit for the entire garage building.
A new Liquor License was issued to The Farmhouse Barn, Inc.  Sharon Fournier, the new owner of the Farmhouse Inn/Mountain Star Estate, plans to continue operating the business as a wedding venue.  The owner will provide liquor but not catered food and the number of guests will be limited to 200.
The Rangeley Friends of the Arts (RFA) were re-issued a Liquor License for their 2493 Main Street location.  This location is often referred to as the “movie theater” but is considered the RFA’s Performing Arts Center.
No action was taken by the Selectmen regarding the agenda item for 35 Hotel Road.  The Selectmen had voted at a previous meeting to sell this tax acquired property by sealed bid.  This vote was re-affirmed by not taking any new action.
Levi Robinson representing RHR Smith and Company, Certified Public Accountants, provided Board members an overview of his company’s audit of Rangeley’s financial statements.  The audit showed that the Town is in solid financial shape with a Fund Balance of approximately three million dollars.  The Selectmen voted to accept the audit as presented.
A sizable portion of the Town’s Fund Balance is kept in a local bank’s Sweep Account that pays a relatively low interest rate.  Several months ago, the Selectmen asked the Treasurer to explore investments with higher rates of return.  At this meeting the Treasurer verbally recommended that $400,000.00 be placed in a seven-month Certificate of Deposit (CD) yielding 3.25% interest.  The other local bank offered a nine-month CD with the same 3.25% interest rate but was not recommended.  The Selectmen opted to request a copy of the Town’s Investment Policy to see what other investment options might be available to them.
Previous business that the Selectmen tabled until a full Board was present was able to be addressed.  The Board voted to authorize the Town Manager to fill the vacant Customer Service Representative/Office Assistant position, leave the Public Services Director position open and advertise for a Parks and Recreation Director.
A public hearing on Chapter 34, the proposed Short Term Rental Ordinance (STR) is scheduled for March 15, 2023, at 6:00pm.  On March 21, 2023, a public hearing on Chapter 38, Rangeley Zoning Ordinance will take place at 6:00pm.  Immediately following will be the first public hearing on the Draft Annual Town Warrant.  The Selectmen are hoping for public feedback on the budget expenditure amounts contained in the Town Warrant since there is still time to change them.
The next Selectmen’s meeting will be held March 6th at 6:00pm.

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