LITCHFIELD — The fire department is seeking voter authorization to bill insurance companies when responding to calls for service.

That question and others will be voted on at a special town meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, at the Litchfield Fire & Rescue’s Central Station at 2400 Hallowell Road. The will also be broadcast via Zoom like regular select board meetings, but residents need to be there in-person in order to vote.

Meanwhile, residents and officials discussed those matters for nearly two hours on Monday night, with the select board ultimately accepting the special meeting’s warrant with a few amendments.

Residents will be able to vote on three items in all: whether to allow the fire department to bill insurance companies through a third party organization; an item to allow up to $126,500 to be spent for repair and paving at the fire station; and an item that would require write-in candidates to be declared on the ballot in order for those votes to be counted.

Much of the discussion Monday revolved insurance company billing, which would be done through Central Maine Cost Recovery, a company that represents nearly 80 municipalities in Maine.

Company owner David Hewins explained how the agreement would work during the meeting. He said that the money from insurance companies for these calls is essentially just sitting there, but that the insurance companies do not make it easy to collect.


“Our staff has been trained on how to deal with these insurance companies, and we are willing to help the town as much as possible,” he said.

Hewins said there would be no direct cost to the town, and that money would only be taken out of collected funds. There is no setup fee or annual charge.

Central Maine Cost Recovery will deduct $25 for each report sent to them, and 20% of the revenue made from each case in which money is returned to the town.

Town Manager Kelly Weissenfels said Tuesday that the town will work to set up a procedure of screening reports, so no cases are sent in which the individual involved was uninsured.

One resident asked if this would also include home accidents, and Litchfield Fire Chief Mike Sherman said that the ordinance as written will specifically cover vehicle accidents and vehicle fires. He said their goal was to see if there was any interest from the community in pursuing this, and that the most straightforward way to do so was through motor vehicles. However, if there is a positive response and the department begins to see revenues, then the ordinance could be revisited and its scope could be increased.

Sherman said all money paid to Litchfield through claims collected by Central Maine Cost Recovery would be used for “the express purpose to help offset future maintenance and or replacement of fire and rescue equipment and buildings.”


The item for new paving and maintenance at Litchfield Fire & Rescue Central Station includes gravel replacements by public works, pavement of the grassy area in front of the fire station, and then overlaying all of the existing pavement. The project is estimated to cost about $115,000, with $25,000 for materials from public works and about $90,000 overall for paving.

Money used for the project would come out of the unassigned funds account. Budget committee member Tom Wood suggested adding a buffer to the total to account for potentially rising costs, and then returning any leftover money from the project back to the unassigned funds account.

Weissenfels agreed, and the board amended the total to $126,500, or a 10% increase to account for any inflationary increases to the overall cost.

Some residents questioned the warrant item related to write-in candidates, which would allow candidates running for town office to sign a paper to be included as a pre-approved write-in. It would also prevent voters from writing in any name they wanted. Weissenfels said part of the reasoning behind this item was to prevent situations in which election workers were up during the wee hours counting write-in votes.

If passed, it would allow the town to reach out to potential candidates if nobody goes through the petitioning process prior to an election and no candidates are on the ballot. The potential candidates would just need to sign a document to be included as part of the pre-approved write-ins. Someone interested in running, but who did not have time to gather signatures, could also just contact the town office and sign the paperwork to be included.

One resident asked if this could result in everybody opting out of the petition and instead signing the paper to be a write-in candidate.

“Theoretically that could happen,” Weissenfels said. “So it was very good to have that hearing. The discussion was very good in that it brought a balanced look at the referendum item.”

The legality of including write-in names in the voting booth was also brought into question, and though Weissenfels said he cleared the item with the town attorney, the board agreed to get a second opinion.

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