The Star-Herald

Considering a regional ambulance service

To the editor:

In 2017 Presque Isle started a city ambulance service.  The objective was to make money to subsidize the cost of the full-time fire department. Notwithstanding the ethics of making money from a public service, and now with the pending demise of Northern Lights’ regional 911 ambulance service, the city council should consider the pros and cons of a regional fire/ambulance service.

Although the regionalization of municipal services may no longer be a local priority, it is not the time to be complacent.  As everyone knows, the federal deficit last year was almost one trillion dollars. We are spending our way into a debt crisis.  In preparing for the next financial crisis, the city council’s long-term view should include using cost effective regional services. 

The city council should consider three actions.  It should promote a tri-community advisory committee consisting of the managers and elected officials of Caribou, Fort Fairfield and Presque Isle, for the purpose of considering the regionalization of municipal services.  It should revisit its union contracts and remove any language which hinders regionalization. And finally, it should develop in-house expertise to conduct financial analyses.  

There is a timely need for business models so that the city council can determine if regional services are feasible and to determine how much to charge when providing fire/ambulance services to neighboring communities outside the tri-communities.

Stephen Freeman

Presque Isle

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