City seeks input on future of emergency services

ELLSWORTH — City councilors voted unanimously on Monday evening to hold public workshops to discuss the future of emergency medical services in the city, including possible licensing for the city’s fire and police departments.

“It needs to go before the public and it needs to go before the council so it’s just not buried,” said Councilor Steve Beathem. “It is very important to have it done prior to budget season.”

“Having input of residents is extremely important,” said Councilor Dale Hamilton.

The council also voted to hold a separate set of workshops for councilors and other involved parties “to develop a plan and direction” regarding emergency medical services and possible licensing for city staff.

The information discussed in committee would then be brought to the public at the workshops, Beathem said.

Councilors had tabled a motion at an August meeting to consider a proposal that would have housed two fully staffed ambulances in the Fire Department, saying they needed more information before moving forward.

Bangor-based Capital Ambulance has been providing coverage to Ellsworth and surrounding towns since County Ambulance abruptly shut its doors on Aug. 31 after over 40 years in business.

Capital, which is affiliated with Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems and Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, already had one ambulance in Ellsworth on weekdays during the day before the closure of County.

Capital officials previously told The American that they planned to bring two trucks to Ellsworth and base them at MCMH until another plan could be put in place.

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Kate covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. She lives in Southwest Harbor and welcomes story tips and ideas. She can be reached at [email protected]

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