BINGHAM — Voters decided to cut funds to the ambulance service that the town shares with others in the upper Kennebec Valley at the annual Town Meeting on Monday night.

They also approved a purchase of property to be used for a fire department expansion and to make the position of town clerk appointed rather than elected.

The total budget approved for the coming year is $615,350, said First Selectman Steve Steward. It is down about 7 percent from the current budget of $666,248, although that number included $25,000 for the bicentennial celebration.

The town has been using the Upper Kennebec Valley Ambulance Service, which is a shared service with other towns including Caratunk, the Forks, Moscow, Pleasant Ridge, West Forks and unorganized territories in Somerset County, for about 30 years, said Steward.

In the last year and a half, he said, annual costs have gone up and the town went from paying about $40,000 to $100,000. In 2012 the cost was $88,500.

“It needs to be fairer. They provide a good service, but I think many people feel the upper river towns are not contributing what they should be to the cost,” said Steward. He said the cost of the ambulance service is divided among the areas that use it based on population counts from the most recent census.

For 2013, selectmen asked the town to raise $69,985, but the request was amended to $35,000. Steward said that should pay for the service through the end of June and in the meantime the town is trying to negotiate a lower price for the rest of the year.

The town also voted to change the position of town clerk from elected to appointed, said Steward. Selectmen already appoint the town treasurer and tax collector and will now do so for the town clerk beginning in 2014.

In elections, Laurie L. Attwood and Raymond L. Francoeur won seats on the School Administrative District 13 board. Attwood received 56 votes and Francoeur 34. The other candidates in the race were Terina M. Adams, who received 16 votes, and Melissa Thompson, who received 24.

Juliana J. Richard was elected to a three-year term as second selectman with 77 votes, and Jeanette A. Jacques was elected to a one-year term as town clerk with 78 votes.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
[email protected]

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