One selectman on April 19 continued to hammer home his concerns about implementing a new ambulance fee as part of an ordinance change.

Selectman Tom Fraser, who, during an initial reading April 5, objected to a proposed $100 fee for non-emergency ambulance calls, said he is worried elderly residents prone to falls might be afraid to call for help if the fee is approved.

The proposed fee would apply to residents, deemed “frequent flyers,” who summon emergency assistance but do not require medical treatment or transportation to the hospital. The ordinance change will appear in the town warrant and be voted on at the annual town meeting in June.

The other two selectmen agreed with Fraser’s concerns but said they were comfortable allowing ambulance personnel to determine when the fee is appropriate. The new fee is intended to discourage non-emergency calls, which tie up equipment and personnel that might be needed elsewhere.

Selectman Peter Curley noted there are people who cannot pay the portion of an emergency ambulance call not covered by insurance but the town does not send bill collectors after them.

“If they can pay, fine,” he said. “If they couldn’t, it’s not an issue.”

Fraser also raised concerns about billing practices, relating his own experience with an incorrect bill that resulted in rejection by his insurance company. Town Manager Courtney O’Donnell redirected the conversation to the ordinance change.

“The real issue, now, is if we want to keep it in,” she said.

“We’re not trying to discourage people from calling,” Curley said. “I think we should have it in there.”

Selectmen previously agreed to allow two “free” calls for non-emergency help before the fee is charged, as long as ambulance personnel make the caller aware of other options.

“It’s those frequent fallers who only need to be picked up,” O’Donnell said. “I hope they could have a neighbor or friend or family (respond instead of an ambulance).”

Fraser continued to argue the fee would be a consideration for some.

“It’s a very small amount of people who use it (the ambulance) as a pick-up service,” Curley said. “They’re just trying to alleviate people doing this.”

Few residents offered feedback on the ordinance changes during the public hearing but one resident said he could understand Fraser’s point.

“I think there are people who abuse it but I fully agree with Tom that nobody should be afraid to call the ambulance if they need it,” he said, adding there aren’t always friends or family willing to help out.

Loren Cole, a member of the Ambulance Service, offered his opinion when asked. He said it is customary to bill people for “lift assists” that do not require medical treatment or hospitalization.

Selectman Betsy Bradley said if someone can operate a phone to call 911, they perhaps could instead call someone else for assistance.

“Call anybody, call (Gov. Paul) LePage, I don’t care,” Fraser said. “I just don’t want people laying on the floor.”

Bradley suggested leaving the fee in place for a year to see what other organizations might be able to offer assistance. She said local Girl Scouts might be interested in helping develop a program to help elderly residents. Girl Scouts, to reach a rank similar to Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout, are required to be involved in a “world-changing” project, and “This is world-changing,” Bradley said.

“Tom gets you thinking,” Curley said. “Because you don’t want people laying there — (thinking) if I call, it’ll cost me $100 but if I don’t call, I’ll die.”