Winslow Fire Chief Ronnie Rodriguez reported to the Town Council on Monday that the town’s new ambulance service had transported 32 people in its first few weeks of operation. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file photo

Winslow Fire Chief Ronnie Rodriguez addressed the Winslow Town Council virtually Monday evening, reporting an overall “success” in regards to the department’s first six months of operating its own ambulance transport service.

“We’ve raised revenue, but most importantly, we’ve saved lives,” Rodriguez said. “The lives saved are the true measure of success of this program.”

Rodriguez proposed the service two years ago. The startup costs were $90,012, with $58,000 covering the cost of the ambulance itself. Revenue exceeded expenses during the months of September through December. The service ended the year with revenues totaling $165,260, exceeding the $107,019 in costs.

“In six months, we’ve nearly attained my projections for the year,” Rodriguez said.

The program benefits both the department and the community. The anticipated revenue of $250 per call is actually higher, Rodriguez said. The original proposal utilizes revenue to purchase a new ambulance and have the current ambulance, which was purchased used, as a backup. Of 298 transports, there were 18 paramedic intercepts and 24 instances of mutual aid received, which “most likely” occurred when Winslow responders were already on another call, Rodriguez said.

“This is basically a win-win,” Winslow Town Manager Erica LaCroix said.

FOOD WASTE PILOT

The Winslow Town Council on Monday night heard an informational presentation on an opportunity for a residential consolidated food waste collection pilot program.

Susanne Lee of University of Maine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions gave the presentation, noting that Maine has the 12th highest level of food insecurity in the country and 30% of the state’s solid waste stream is food waste. The program, Lee said, has “a triple bottom line” with financial, community and natural resource benefits.

“When we say ‘pilot,’ we’re talking about a yearlong program that we’d be working with you to track, measure and support,” Lee said. “Because you’re on a good location, we can get you a very good cost, and the cost for the pickup is less than you’re paying for your current waste hauling.”

The Kennebec Valley Council of Governments and Maine Department of Environmental Protection also worked on the program.

In the proposal, Agracycle would collect waste from dedicated pickup points in Winslow. It is not a curbside pickup system. The proposed timeline begins with a soft launch in March, beginning in earnest in April.

The program would be fully monitored and tracked by the Mitchell Center and its partners. According to estimates, they would need just 15% of households to participate to start saving money. There would be an effort to increase donations to the Winslow Community Cupboard.

“The opportunity is to promote Winslow as a leader for food resource management,” Lee said. “Food has value, even at the end of its life.”

OTHER BUSINESS

The council also on Monday:

• Approved the first of two required votes for the town manager to sell a property on the Maple Ridge Road with an easement from Farm Land Trust to Trapper and Brooke Clark for $175,000.

• Accepted the Agricultural Commission’s Recommendation that the Flying Pigs Farm owned by Russell & Diane Wheeler be accepted into the town’s Voluntary Municipal Farm Support Program.

• Accepted a pole location permit for Central Maine Power Co. and Consolidated Communications Inc.

• Approved Rodriguez to sign a mutual aid agreement with the Oakland Fire Department.

• Reappointed Gary Owen and appointed Steven Gagnon as an alternate to the Winslow Planning Board.

• The longstanding zoning issue for Steve Martin, owner of S B Martin Excavations, to build a garage off Lee and Marie streets was tabled for the second consecutive month.

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