×

Towns frustrated with shared ambulance service

  • Temple, Lyndeborough and Wilton met on Wednesday to discuss their joint ambulance service. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Name hereStaff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Name hereStaff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Lyndeborough and Temple town officials expressed frustration at in the lack of communication between themselves and Wilton town officials over the running of the ambulance service the three towns share during an annual meeting of the three towns.

The three towns share ambulance services, and Lyndeborough and Temple pay a portion of the costs for both running the service and for new equipment purchases, but the equipment ultimately belongs to Wilton, and Wilton maintains ultimate authority over actions like hiring and firing. But Lyndeborough and Temple representatives told the Wilton Select Board they wanted a firmer agreement in place outlining their rights and duties.

Mainly, representatives from Lyndeborough and Temple reiterated a need for an inter-municipal agreement – something that all three towns have agreed upon as recently as the last budget cycle, but was never accomplished, in part because of the departure of Wilton’s town administrator.

The towns have not had an agreement in place since 2014, and Lyndeborough Select Board Chair Fred Douglas said that was an untenable situation.

“We have to stand up in front of Town Meeting, and if someone asks, ‘What’s in this contract?’ I can’t say ‘We don’t have a contract,’” said Douglas. “We asked for this agreement, and its yet to happen.”

“At our last meeting, we were told that it would be a top priority,” agreed Temple Selectman Ken Caisse. 

Wilton Select Board Chair Kellie-Sue Boissonnault and Wilton Interim Town Administrator Paul Branscombe were quick to agree that an inter-municipal agreement should have been drawn up, and re-affirmed a commitment to do so.

“Without an inter-municipal agreement in place, these things do fall through the cracks,” said Branscombe.

It was agreed that Wilton would prepare a draft agreement for the purpose of negotiation, and that it would be presented to the other boards within a deadline of 60 days. 

Communication in general was the main focus of the Lyndeborough and Temple boards. Douglas noted that this year, the town of Wilton had implemented a revolving fund to operate the ambulance, rather than capital reserve accounts. Despite the fact that Lyndeborough had paid into savings accounts for future purchases, Lyndeborough wasn’t consulted in that decision.

“The key here is communication,” said Douglas.

Temple Selectwoman Gail Cromwell also noted the need for an earlier budgeting process for the ambulance, to allow all three towns to plan their budget accordingly. In 2018, budget numbers came in so late that budgets had already been crafted and announced for the public hearing process.

“It’s been very late, every year,” said Cromwell.

One of the provisions Temple and Lyndeborough officials requested for the inter-municipal agreement to include a time frame for the presentation of a top potential cost for the town’s budgeting purposes.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.