ROCKPORT — On May 28, members of the Rockport Select Board authorized Town Manager Rick Bates to sign an agreement with North East Mobile Health Services to provide emergency medical service to the town from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. The board added a provision that the town would notify North East Mobile Health Services (NEMHS) of their intent to renew the contract for the following year by Jan. 15, 2020.
The board also voted unanimously to transfer a parcel of town-owned land to the Maine Water Company. The land had been acquired by the town by a tax lien, and will be used by Maine Water as part of a conservation easement. Also at the Tuesday night meeting the board approved a request by Legacy Rockport to hold the Legacy Dinner on the Goose River Bridge in downtown Rockport on Aug. 11.
The town’s contract for emergency services from NEMHS expires June 30, and prior to Tuesday night’s meeting no contract had been signed extending service past that date. At the May 28 meeting, Town Manager Rick Bates said that an initial one-year contract extension had been received from NEMHS in January, but that the Ambulance Review Committee had not been able to meet and discuss the matter until May 2.
“The recommended contract that came back from [NEMHS] was totally inappropriate and we can’t move forward with that kind of a contract.....We can’t tie the town to having a meeting on a certain date and ‘we’ll guarantee this or we’ll guarantee that’ without going to the voters for approval....I think the goal is to get to some kind of place where we can get a one-year extension,” said Bates.
He said he believed Rockport could secure such an extension from NEMHS provided that revisions were made to the document sent to the town in January.
Two provisions Bates spoke of were a guarantee that prices of service would remain the same, and a change to the “incident command system.”
Bates said that he and Select Board Chairman Ken McKinley discussed the idea of have a specific date in the future when the town will inform NEMHS of their decision to extend the service, in order to offer the company some assurance or forewarning before renewing or discontinuing service.
Bates also suggested that the Select Boards of Rockport, Camden, Hope and Lincolnville – all which contract with NEMHS – meet to discuss the future of EMS services and send a letter of intent to NEMHS; the Camden Select Board voted May 21 to authorize their Town Manager to sign the one-year extension presented by NEMHS in January.
“The key issue here is that some of the towns want to get this finished and done, and some towns that have reservations about [a contract], said McKinley, who said it was imperative that the towns communicate with one another their desires moving forward.
Selectman Jeff Hamilton made a motion to authorize Bates to sign the extension of service agreement with NEMHS for one year, commencing July 1, with the added language that the town would inform NEMHS of their decision to renew services on Jan. 15, 2020.
“In reality, we need EMS services in six weeks, and this is the only way we’re going to get them,” said McKinley. The board voted unanimously in favor of the motion to extend services.
Land transfer to Maine Water Company
Prior to the Select Board voting in favor of the transfer of town-owned land to the Maine Water Company on May 28, the transfer was recommended by members of Rockport’s Planning Board and Conservation Commission. The property, located near Grassy Pond, is approximately 3.5 acres in size, and would be included in Maine Water’s conservation land area. Ownership of the property came to the town as the result of a tax lien certificate in 1992.
Selectman Doug Cole, who serves as a liason to the Planning Board, said his understanding from the board was that the property has no potential monetary value to the town, as it is located deep in the woods, offers no views of Grassy Pond and has no right of way. McKinley added that the property is so narrow that it has no potential of being developed, but would be better used as a conservation easement for future walking trails, etc. The property is located on Map 37, Lot 30 in Rockport’s Official Tax Map.
The Select Board approved a proposal by Legacy Rockport to hold a “Legacy Dinner” on the Goose River Bridge overlooking Rockport Harbor on Aug. 11, with a rain date of Aug. 18.
The Rockport 125 Celebration held a similar event in 2016, when traffic was rerouted so that participants were able to enjoy a meal on the bridge, where tables and chairs had been arranged.
This year’s Legacy Dinner hopes to accommodate between 250 and 300 guests (the previous event hosted 256,) and will feature a family-style meal and cash bar. Funds raised through small auctions, sponsorships and collection buckets will go toward projects including the renovation of Simonton Corner Hall, the restoration of Rockport’s historical archives and the limn kilns near the harbor, among others.
Town department heads had given event committee member Maggie Timmermann their approval during an April safety meeting, and now the committee is working to confirm vendors and sponsors for the event. Marketing efforts and ticket sales are expected to begin in early June.