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

WINSLOW — The Winslow Town Council voted 7-0 on Monday night to authorize town officials to acquire a second ambulance for the community.

In January, Fire Chief Ronnie Rodriguez presented councilors with a six-month update of the municipal ambulance service, including that revenue was exceeding costs by almost $50,000.

“There is a definite need within the community” for additional emergency transportation, Rodriguez told the council. “We have a duty to our citizens for a continuity of service, and the only way to do so is with a second unit.”

At Monday night’s meeting, District 2 Councilor Ben Twitchell expressed concern about funding for a new ambulance, but Town Manager Erica LaCroix said the budget for the ambulance already exists in the town’s spending plan.

She also said the time it takes to get an ambulance could push the purchase into the next fiscal year, and the service is working well. Rodriguez said the process of acquiring another ambulance could take up to eight months.

During the bidding process, the town will request vendors submit proposals for buying or leasing a new ambulance, according to officials.

Council Chairperson Ray Caron of District 4 said Monday the town needs a second ambulance.

“We cannot function safely without a second ambulance,” he said. “We want to have reliable service to the town of Winslow.”

During the meeting, resident Ken Fletcher raised concern about the lack of public input on a purchase of more than $100,000.

LaCroix said residents could circulate a petition to overturn the Town Council’s vote and put the matter to a public vote.

ZONING ISSUE

The longstanding zoning issue regarding a potential rezoning of a handful of connected lots on Lee and Marie streets remained tabled for the fourth consecutive month.

Because it has been so long since the ordinance came before the council, there must be a new notice sent via certified mail to abutters about a vote.

Steve Martin wants to change lots 87, 88 and 89 in Dunbar Acres from high-density residential to contract zoned high-density residential to accommodate a storage facility for his contracting business.

“Under state law, any of the abutters are to receive a certified mailing of the proposed change before it is to be considered,” said William A. Lee III, the town’s lawyer. “We have not had a separate notice go out to the neighbors, and they are entitled to that before you should be voting on anything.”

There is a requirement under Maine law for the certified mailing to contain a date when the issue would be considered.

“Since this is a highly charged situation,” Lee said, “I think it is very important to dot all of your I’s and cross all your T’s.”

The Winslow Town Council has appointed Steve Russell, a former town councilor, to the Agriculture Committee, Parks & Recreation Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. Russell is shown here in October, when still a member of the council. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

In other matters, the council authorized the town to participate in a yearlong food-recycling pilot project. The council voted 5-2, with at-large Councilor Jeff West and District 1 Councilor Peter Drapeau voting in opposition.

The council also voted unanimously to:

• Authorize the sale of a property on Maple Ridge Road, with an easement from Farm Land Trust for $175,000.

• Appoint Steve Russell, a former town councilor, to the Agriculture Committee, Parks & Recreation Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.

• Appoint District 5 Councilor Joseph Gravel to the Agriculture Committee.

• Approve a renewal of $26,761 in funding from the Central Maine Growth Council.

• Approve a contract with Wright-Pierce Engineers to design a replacement sewer system for the Sunset Heights Development at a cost not to exceed $160,000, with funds from the Sewer Capital Account.

• Approve a contract with Comprehensive Land Technologies Inc., at an estimated cost of $80,000, to clear trees along the sewer interceptor that runs from Lithgow Street to the main pump station at Chaffee Brook.

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