The Winslow Town Council took its second and final vote on Monday night to authorize the town to buy a used ambulance so the Fire Department may begin operating its own ambulance service.

Since coming to the job as Winslow fire chief in 2018, Ronnie Rodriguez has expanded the staff and increased medical training. With the Town Council voting Monday to buy a used ambulance, he can add running an ambulance service to the list. Morning Sentinel file photo by Michael G. Seamans

Councilors voted 5-2 to authorize Town Manager Michael Heavener to spend up to $85,000 to buy the ambulance and related equipment.

Council members Ben Twitchell and Jerry Quirion voted against the measure.

Before the council approved the purchase, two amendments were proposed by Quirion and Council Chairman Ray Caron.

Quirion proposed a public hearing to be held before the council approved the purchase. The motion was seconded by Twitchell who said that the next council meeting on June 8 would be a good opportunity to hold a public hearing, if the town office was reopened to the public by that date.

Amending this to have a public hearing is ridiculous,” Councilor Patricia Ayer said. “There have been numerous ways that people can bring forward their questions, their concerns, talk to the chief, talk to their councilor. I mean, this is hysterical. It’s actually funny at this point.” 


During a special meeting April 9, fire Chief Ronnie Rodriguez spent time answering questions from the council about the proposed ambulance service.

After more than an hour of discussion, however, councilors voted to delay a first vote to allow them to gather more information and answer questions from community members.

Town Manager Michael Heavener collected questions for eight days and posted the questions and answers about the proposed purchase on the town’s website.

“We have comments right now on Facebook that we just need to vote and we need to just move on,” Ayer said on Monday. “And it’s just mind blowing to me … people out there think that their voice hasn’t been heard and that this needs to go to public comment. That’s just absolutely crazy to me.” 

In a 5-2 vote, the council rejected Quirion’s amendment. 

Caron then proposed an amendment to table the decision until the next council meeting to allow a mutual aid agreement between Winslow and Delta Ambulance to be finalized.


“We need to vote, we need to move forward,” Ayer said. “I’m seriously concerned at the people here on the council that think this needs to wait out any longer …” 

In a 4-2 vote, the council rejected Caron’s amendment.

The proposal to authorize the purchase of one used ambulance and related equipment for up to $85,000 was then approved in a 5-2 vote.

The council was originally set to vote on whether to allow the town to buy two used ambulances and related equipment for $204,400. But during a meeting on April 20, Councilman Jeff West made a motion to amend the original proposal to limit the town to buy only one ambulance.

“I think it would ease a lot of people’s concern of spending less money now,” West said on April 20.

In a 5-2 vote, the council approved the amendment. Caron and Twitchell voted in opposition.

The money to buy the ambulance and equipment would come from the Fire Department’s capital account and would not increase the town’s property tax rate, according to Heavener.

The Fire Department is already providing emergency medical technician services, according to Rodriguez. The purchase of the used ambulance and having licensed paramedics on staff would be the last pieces needed to give Winslow a fully functioning ambulance service.

Five employees could test for their paramedic certification in December after they have completed a course at Kennebec Valley Community College.

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