Mars Hill councilors continue action on ambulance service as deadline looms

4 years ago

MARS HILL, Maine — The Mars Hill Town Council continued its proactive actions to establish a semi-municipal ambulance service in its meeting on Tuesday, setting the stage for the creation of a new service that will provide emergency services to residents of Mars Hill, Blaine and Bridgewater. 


The council ratified its vote made in an emergency meeting on Jan. 2 to participate in the creation of the Central Aroostook Ambulance Service. The town charter requires that councilors ratify all votes made in emergency session when they next meet in a regular meeting. It also scheduled a vote for the appointment of three representatives to the service’s governing board.

Also dominating the ambulance discussion was the question of time. There was worry from some councilors that a bill to authorize the creation of the Central Aroostook Ambulance Service in the Maine Legislature was not moving fast enough. The service can’t begin operation without the approval of the state body. 

Mars Hill Town Manager David Cyr said that Sen. Michael Carpenter, D-Houlton, introduced the bill, LD 2050, on Jan. 16, and that it was currently going through the legislative process. The bill was referred to the criminal justice and public safety committees in the Maine House and Senate on Tuesday. 

If that service isn’t established by April 20, with staff, equipment and the approval of the state of Maine, Mars Hill will lose its ambulance service along with Blaine and Bridgewater. Cyr said proponents of the measure hope to have the pieces in place far ahead of time to avoid that adverse scenario. 

“We’re looking to line things up so we’re up and running the day the governor signs it,” Cyr said.

Cyr said he was unsure if emergency services in Presque Isle would cover Mars Hill and surrounding communities if they do not meet the deadline. He said that he had instructed Chairman of the Blaine Board of Selectmen Kevin Grass, who is actively involved in the ambulance effort, to speak to Presque Isle officials about potential coverage. 

He said that officials from the three towns had recently placed an advertisement in The Star-Herald for the position of ambulance director. They hope to fill that position by Jan. 31.

The ambulance service is not governed directly by each of the town’s councils. Board members of each entity appoint three members to the board of directors, each representing their respective towns on the board. 

Of the three open seats on the emergency services board, the councilors were only certain of their pick for one spot. Cyr said officials were looking for Mars Hill residents to fill the other two spots, and that one person had shown interest. 

The council voted to hold another non-standard meeting on Feb. 4, where councilors will elect the members of the board.

Shortly before the town council meeting, Mars Hill’s Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Public Library also held its first board of trustees meeting of the year.

Co-librarian Parker Smith revealed some statistics for the year: people entered the library 4,539 times in 2019, including 59 new patrons.  

Additionally, the library board decided on some particulars related to its effort to help with self-registration in the 2020 U.S. Census, after receiving a $2,000 grant from the American Library Association in December.  

Library staff will put laptops at town offices in Bridgewater, Blaine and Mars Hill. Smith said he would also like to purchase “deep freeze” software to wipe out personal information on these laptops after residents use them.

The next regular Mars Hill Town Council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18.