AUGUSTA — A proposal to tap into reserve funds for about $138,000 to help purchase two new ambulances, one of which is needed to replace one wrecked in a collision this summer, is up for council approval Thursday.

A city-owned 2012 GMC ambulance was destroyed in a traffic accident in June when it collided with a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox. The stretcher in the ambulance was also destroyed in the crash.

The city received $94,000 from its automobile insurance provider for the ambulance and stretcher. But that’s well short of the $197,000 cost of buying a new ambulance, the lowest price offered in a competitive bidding process.

City Manager William Bridgeo has proposed to take money from the city’s unassigned fund balance account, an account built up with money budgeted but unspent in previous years, to cover the difference between what insurance paid for the wrecked ambulance and the cost of a new one.

Councilors at their meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday are scheduled to consider appropriating $121,000 from the fund balance to supplement the $94,000 received from the insurance company to buy a new ambulance and stretcher to replace those wrecked in the crash.

Also, councilors will be asked to take an additional $17,000 from the same fund balance account to supplement the $180,000 already budgeted to purchase another new ambulance. Bridgeo said the ambulance it will replace was scheduled to be replaced this year. However, the $180,000 budgeted wouldn’t be enough to cover the actual cost of a new ambulance.

Bridgeo said there is adequate money in the fund balance account to cover the additional funds needed for both new ambulances and still leave enough money in the fund to cover other unanticipated expenses should any come up and remain within auditors’ recommendations.

“It shouldn’t imprudently strain the fund balance,” Bridgeo said. “It is for just this type of unforeseen development that we maintain a healthy fund balance.”

Ralph St. Pierre, finance director and assistant city manager, said the fund balance, as of the end of June, was $5.5 million, which is above the auditor-recommended amount of $4.8 million, or 8.33 percent of the total budget for the year. St. Pierre said the fund balance is on the rise with revenues up in a number of areas as the result of continued economic recovery in the area.

The destroyed ambulance had its lights and sirens on and a patient on board when it collided with an Equinox on Route 3 in June. The patient did not suffer additional injuries and was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in another ambulance. Firefighters in the rescue unit and passengers in the vehicle that collided with the ambulance suffered minor injuries and were taken to the hospital and released.

Councilors, Thursday, are also scheduled to:

• authorize Bridgeo to apply for state grant funds on behalf of local snowmobile clubs North Augusta Trail Blazers and Fox Glen Snowmobile Club to help offset the clubs’ trail maintenance and related costs;

• consider authorizing Bridgeo to allow modified work hours, including night work, for Summit Natural Gas in the area of Bridge and Water streets in September;

• and consider authorizing beer and wine to be served at Mill Park as part of Augusta Fuel Company’s hosting of a Kennebec Chamber of Commerce “after hours” social gathering Sept. 28.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj


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