ELLSWORTH — Citing “no progress” in negotiations with Northern Light Medical Transport prior to a scheduled Jan. 21 Emergency Medical Services Committee meeting, interim City Manager Glenn Moshier told the City Council on Jan. 11 that he was “hopeful we can bring it back to the next council meeting.”
The EMS Committee last met on Dec. 15, when Moshier recommended a three-year contract that met with reluctant approval from its members. The issue was tabled at the Dec. 21 council meeting because of a lengthy agenda.
The Northern Light-operated ambulance service surprised the city with a request for a service contract last year, as an existing agreement to house NLMT personnel in the Fire Department has provided Ellsworth with ambulance service at no cost since 2018. That agreement ends in August.
Negotiations have already lowered NLMT’s request of a $9.40 per capita fee to $4 per capita through June 30, the end of the 2021 fiscal year, $7 per capita for the following year and $9.40 per capita for the third year of the contract.
As the EMS Committee wrangles with the unexpected cost of an emergency medical services contract, it has twice discussed starting a city-operated ambulance service. The city was licensed as an EMS agency in 2020. Firefighters regularly assist or handle emergency service calls, so the license was required. That the city start taking steps to form its own emergency medical response service is part of the committee’s recommendation to the council. The council plans to take up those recommendations in February.
Also on the February agenda will be a report from the Crosswalk Committee, which disbanded at its meeting last week after failing to reach a consensus on allowing some crosswalks to be painted in rainbow colors in support of the LBGQT+ community. Council Chairman Dale Hamilton, who served on the committee, said minutes from that final meeting first needed to circulate among council members.
And, to a hearty round of applause, Life and Fire Safety Inspector and Plans Examiner Mike Hangge was recognized “with deepest appreciation” by the council for his four decades with the city. Hangge served as volunteer firefighter from 1980-86; a “career” firefighter from 1986-2006; a captain with the Fire Department from 2006-07; and fire inspector from 2007-2020.