Wilton: Ambulance, recycling budget up for discussion 

  • —Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/17/2017 9:48:56 AM

While towns say they see the benefits of adding a full-time paramedic, a nearly $100,000 proposed increase in the ambulance budget has member towns saying it’s too much, too fast.

“Unacceptable,” said Lyndeborough Select Board Chair Lee Mayhew. “Even though I know you have a problem with staffing, there’s a way to smooth into it.”

On Thursday, the Wilton Select Board and Budget Committee met with members of its ambulance cooperative – Lyndeborough and Temple – and members towns of its Recycling Center – Lyndeborough, Temple, Greenville and Mason – to discuss those shared budgets.

The ambulance budget is proposed to go up significantly this year, from $185,192 to $281,087. The majority of that is in pay increases and a proposal to bring on a full-time paramedic, which would include benefits. Currently, only Chief Gary Zirpolo, is full-time.

The Wilton boards explained that Chief Zirpolo has been putting in significant hours of overtime to fill gaps, to the point it’s become unsustainable. A full-time hire, rather than additional per diem or part-time hires, would allow the schedule to be more stable. But with nearly half the increase this year coming from the additional paramedic, towns were concerned, and suggested scheduling only half a year for a new paramedic salary, eliminating the new paramedic’s expected overtime, or hiring two part-time employees to avoid paying benefits to help lower costs.

Wilton Budget Committee Chair Cary Hughes told the representatives that the budget still had to go through the budget committee process, and these alternatives would be given consideration.

The boards also discussed the Recycling Center Budget, which is up this year only slightly – going from $525,121 to $527,417.

Recycling Center Director Steve Elliott discussed with representatives a plan to use a portion of money in the revolving fund to purchase scales for the center, so that incoming trash could be weighed. “We would charge what it actually costs to get rid of it, which may raise revenue,” said Elliott. The scales would cost about $32,000, and the installation another $13,000, said Elliott.

Lyndeborough Budget Committee Chair Burton Reynolds agreed with Elliott saying, “New Boston put in scales and it made a big difference,” he said. “Scales make it fair and increased their revenue significantly.”

Elliott said based on feedback received at the meeting, it was likely the town would move forward with the purchase of the scales this year.

 

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


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