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Residents reluctantly back EMS funding

NEW CANADA, Maine —  New Canada residents approved a controversial funding request from Fort Kent based Ambulance Service Inc., Wednesday, March 15, at the town’s annual meeting, according to town manager Rodney Pelletier.

“There were a lot of questions asked about that article,” Pelletier said Thursday morning.

The non-profit EMS provider requested $7,442 from New Canada as part of an effort to raise a total of $205,000 from among the communities it serves to help offset a $250,000 operating shortfall in 2016. ASI attributes the loss to reduced reimbursement and operational cost increases.

“It’s a lot of money for a town of 300 people,” said Pelletier, adding that the request came at the end of the town’s budget process and without any warning.

ASI stopped requesting municipal funding support after 2006, according to Pelletier. ASI based its new municipal requests on each community’s Maine Revenue Services valuations. ASI coverage area currently includes Allagash, Cross Lake, Eagle Lake, Fort Kent, Frenchville, New Canada, St. Agatha, St. Francis, St. John Plantation, Sinclair, Square Lake, Wallagrass, Winterville Plantation and T15 R6.

New Canada’s selectmen had recommended only $3,000 for ambulance support. After much discussion, however, and information that ASI administrators presented, the residents voted to approve the full amount.

“We approved it, but didn’t like it,” Pelletier said.

In the March 15 elections in New Canada, voters elected Carey Daigle as selectman to  serve a three-year term. He ran unopposed. Voters also re-elected Pelletier as treasurer and subsequently appointed him as town manager.

Joel Bossie, also running unopposed, won the election as the District 4 representative of Maine School Administrative District 27. That seat, however, also includes a portion of Fort Kent, and Bossie’s re-election to the school board is pending the results of the March 27 elections in Fort Kent.

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