Board discusses ambulance rates, sewer abatement
After a late-announced executive session Tuesday to consult with legal counsel, Wiscasset selectmen came into open session and went through an abbreviated agenda. No vote was taken in open session. Some items were tabled; a service recognition award for William Thayer did not take place because the honoree was not there; and a resolution for Wiscasset Community Center’s 20th anniversary on Feb. 14 was postponed.
Carla Chapman received a liquor license for The Cubby Hole on West Alna Road. The general store portion of the business will close; the food and beverage portion will be expanded. Chapman said the redemption center will also go out of business, because she has not been able to keep up with that side of the business. Police Chief Jeff Lange said Chapman's plans to close at 10 p.m. on race nights alleviated his concerns about post-race night drinking.
During public comment, Judy Flanagan rose to speak about the sign in the window of the business Ted Talbot vacated in late December. “It takes a village to create a community,” she said. “But it also takes a village to destroy a community. I am finally going to speak about the sign posted in the downtown business window that was not only offensive to me personally, but hurtful to our downtown.”
Flanagan said she is sorry the select board is remaining silent on the issue, since the sign also targeted Chairman Judy Colby. “We did not deserve to be targeted by such a shameful act of free speech,” she said. “All that it takes to destroy a community is for good people to remain silent.”
EMS Chief Toby Martin spoke about the options for setting rates for ambulance services to other towns. The town has entered into an agreement with Dresden for $6,000 in the first year, rising to $7,000 by the end of the third year. Next year, Westport Island and Edgecomb will be up for renewal. Martin said the flat rate system is not covering the costs of ambulance service, and thousands of dollars are not paid by those served, or are written off as part of an agreement with Medicare and Medicaid. He discussed three systems, the flat rate system, a per capita system in which the towns pay more if they have more residents, and a subscription system, similar to what schools use to set tuition rates for out of area students. He recommended a per capita system, but also recommended that the three communities begin together by creating shorter term contracts with Westport Island and Edgecomb; then, when Dresden comes up for renewal, the new system could go into effect for all three. No per capita rate was set, nor flat rates for the shorter term for the town's up for renewal.Colby said she and Martin would meet to determine a fair flat rate for the next couple of years.
The town took a first read of a plan to solve sewer abatements. Many residents are asking for abatements because of outdoor watering. The Wiscasset Water District recommended a system by which towns would have a second meter installed for outdoor watering. There would be a fee for the meter, but the outdoor meters would not be metered for sewer. The issue will be taken up again at the board’s next meeting.