‘You know exactly what was intended’: Woolwich redoes post-vote CMP letter

Proposed charge doubles for repeat-no transport ambulance calls
Thu, 12/05/2019 - 8:00am

    After hearing from opponents of Central Maine Power’s corridor project, Woolwich selectmen agreed Dec. 4 to reword a letter announcing results of a local referendum opposing the project.

    Sherri Harvey and Dani Friend asked the board to amend its letter. The women led a petition effort to get the question on the Nov. 5 ballot. Corridor opponents passed the referendum by a margin of over 2-1.

    “We’re looking for a letter expressing that opposition,” said Friend.

    Not all of the town is against the project, responded Selectmen’s Chairman David King Sr. He added, only about 30 percent of the 2,472 registered voters cast referendum ballots.

    Selectman Allen Greene objected to the wording the board used in a Nov. 18 letter announcing the results to CMP and state officials. “(Project opponents) wanted a letter stating the town is in opposition to this,” said Greene. He said discussion of the letter had been left off the Nov. 18 meeting agenda. But Greene’s motion to rescind the previous letter failed 3-2, with Selectmen Jason Shaw and Dale Chadbourne joining King in defeating it. Selectman Allison Hepler voted with Greene.

    The board unanimously agreed to reword its letter to read: “On Nov. 5, 2019 in response to a petition, the citizens of the Town of Woolwich voted to oppose the CMP corridor project by a vote of 585 to 176.”

    In addition to CMP, copies will go  to Avangrid, Maine Public Utilities Commission, Department of Environmental Protection and Land Use Planning Commission.

    The board tentatively approved a change to the ambulance department’s billing policy. Before the change is finalized, Maine Municipal Association’s legal service will review it.

    EMS Director Brian Carlton is recommending charging for repeat ambulance calls to the same address when transport is declined. Carlton had recommended a $75 charge but has since doubled the proposed amount for on-scene care with medication. “Seventy-five dollars would be an extremely low amount to charge. Especially if we were called, administered medication and the patient refused transport to the hospital,” explained Carlton.

    The policy allows for three ambulance calls to the same patient in any six-month period before the $150 charge would be applied. If approved, the rate would take effect Jan. 1.

    “You’ll need to explain to people who frequently call for ambulance assistance why this fee is necessary,” commented King.

    The board is returning the annual town meeting to a weeknight instead of a Saturday morning. The tentative date is 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 29. Should the meeting continue past 9, any remaining business will move to the next evening. Before finalizing the date, the board will contact school officials to make sure the gymnasium is available.

    Poor attendance at last year’s meeting prompted the board to make the change.