Selectmen discussed the future of the Ambulance Department when they met March 18. Interim Town Manager Mac Smith reported that a proposal had been received from the town of Searsport to merge Stockton Springs’ department into its own following the Feb. 1 resignation of former Director Chaz Hare.

Searsport EMS Chief Adrian Stone provided three options with preliminary cost figures, which he noted were “very early numbers” that had not been approved by selectmen in his town. They include having Searsport cover Stockton Springs from its station at an estimated annual cost of $45,000, having it staff the Stockton Springs station from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and cover the town from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. from Searsport, for $90,000, or having Searsport staff the Stockton Springs station 24 hours, using an hourly crew from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and a stipend crew during the overnight hours, for an estimated $130,000.

Stone said in his proposal that both towns would save money on staffed stations by sharing costs and personnel.

Smith noted that because the town meeting is relatively soon, there would not be sufficient time to do the necessary research on the various options, including the possibility of hiring a new town ambulance director and keeping the department, plus holding the required public hearings and other steps to complete due diligence.

He told The Republican Journal that the Ambulance Department budget is under review, adding that “A proposal to add on-call pay for the ambulance crews would add significantly to next year's budget. Because firm numbers are not known, whether a savings would be realized by combining with Searsport is just not known.”

Selectmen voted to ask Smith to place an ad for an ambulance director specifying that the position is for one year, with the possibility of extension, to give the town time to review its options, hold public hearings and make an informed decision.

In other business, the board received a request from the Stockton Springs Yacht Club to add a dingy dock to the Town Dock. During discussion, Selectman Peter Curley opposed allowing the addition on the grounds that it would add to the town’s liability and also that it would permit private use of a public facility.

Smith explained that the Yacht Club had closed its building and owners need somewhere to dock their dinghies. There was discussion of the need for more dock space in general, and Selectman Betsy Bradley suggested talking to the harbormaster about how much more space was needed.

After some further discussion the Yacht Club request was denied.

Smith noted that the town’s Comprehensive Plan is overdue for revision, the last revision having been in 2005. Curley suggested recruiting a volunteer to chair the effort and forming a committee to work on the revision. Smith said he had helped Searsport with its Comprehensive Plan Revision and would be happy to work with the committee. It was agreed that Smith would contact some possible candidates for the committee and board members would contribute names of people they thought should be asked.

A question was submitted via Facebook Live about when the downstairs meeting room at the Town Office would be available for public use, and the board asked Smith to develop a policy for the room’s use to be considered at the April 1 meeting.

The board also approved Smith’s contract as interim town manager from March 8 to May 28, which can be terminated as soon as Town Manager Jennifer King returns from medical leave.