Richmond voters signed off on spending about $14,000 to rejoin the city of Gardiner’s ambulance service for a year at a special town meeting Wednesday.

Residents also approved allowing the town to enter into multi-year contracts, although the emergency service contract with Gardiner is only through June.

Richmond had been a part of Gardiner’s ambulance service, which serves seven other towns in the region, for decades before switching to a private ambulance company in 2009 to save money. That company, North East Mobile Health Services of Scarborough, didn’t submit a bid to Richmond after its contract expired this year.

Gardiner submitted a one-year bid of $18,588 to respond to emergency calls for one year, but because North East will continue providing an ambulance until October, Gardiner reduced the cost to $13,941.

The eight other communities in Gardiner’s service — Chelsea, Dresden, Gardiner, Farmingdale, Litchfield, Pittston, Randolph and West Gardiner — will see the expected increase on their bills this year cut in half, from 32 percent higher than last year to 16 percent higher, according to Gardiner City Manager Scott Morelli.

Richmond town officials plan to seek proposals for a three-year emergency service contract before the contract with Gardiner expires, said Peter Warner, chairman of the Richmond Board of Selectmen.


About 40 residents were at Wednesday’s special town meeting at Marcia Buker Elementary School. The meeting was followed by public hearing on whether to put weight limits on Weeks Road and a presentation about the recently announced plan from a developer to purchase and renovate the Hathorn Block, a historic downtown building that’s been vacant for the last 15 years.

Warner said he expects the board will approve the weight restrictions before the paving is completed. The selectmen proposed the weight restrictions because the town is paving a few unpaved roads, and they don’t want the roads to deteriorate more quickly under heavy commercial trucks, he said.

The Hathorn Block, completed in 1850 at the corner of Front and Main streets, has been subject to multiple owners and renovation attempts in the last decade.

Les Fossel, a former state legislator and the owner of a restoration and historic preservation company in Alna, told the Kennebec Journal last week that he was expecting to close on the property for $1. The town already approved a $110,000 loan from the downtown tax-increment financing district fund, which will be used with a $110,000 loan from Coastal Enterprises, Inc. to renovate the outside of the building by winter, Fossel said.

He’s estimating the entire project will cost $2.2 million and be ready to be rented by the end of 2016. Fossel will still have to secure additional funding, and he plans to seek historic tax credits to cover 38 to 45 percent of the costs, he said.

The hope is to develop 11 apartments on the second through fifth floors of the building, and rent commercial spaces on the first floor and the Front Street side of the second floor, Fossel said.


Warner said residents at Wednesday’s meeting voiced support for the plan.

“This is really exciting for the people in town, and everybody was overwhelmingly excited about it,” he said. “There were no negative words at all.”

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @pdkoenig

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