Helen Call, an advanced emergency medical technician with Northern Light Emergency Medical Transport, returns to the Ellsworth Fire Department after a mid-morning call. On Sept. 16, city councilors voted to extend the contract with the Bangor-based nonprofit to house ambulances in the department for three years. FILE PHOTO

City ambulance contract extended



ELLSWORTH — Ambulances will be housed in the Fire Department for at least the next few years.

That’s the word after the City Council approved an extension to the agreement with Bangor-based ambulance company Northern Light Medical Transport (NLMT).

The agreement is valid for the next three years, with annual reviews and auto rollover “if there are no issues,” according to the contract language.

“The relationship between NLMT and the Fire Department is very good,” wrote Ellsworth Fire Department Chief Richard Tupper in a memo to councilors on Sept. 12.

Tupper wrote that there have been “only a few minor issues that have been dealt with quickly and without incident at the administrative level.”

Attorneys for both sides made a few minor changes to the current agreement, which was put in place last fall.

One of the changes includes a possible increase in the payment amount to the city.

As it stands now, the ambulance service pays $833 each month to use Fire Department facilities inside City Hall. That works out to roughly $10,000 on a yearly basis.

Under the new arrangement approved on Monday, the contract amount will instead be tied to a Consumer Price Index.

Attorneys for the two entities also added a clause that will charge the ambulance company an 18 percent annual interest rate for late payments.

There was little discussion of the arrangement on Monday evening, but an Emergency Management Services Committee that includes City Manager David Cole as well as several city councilors discussed the plans at a June meeting.

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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