Two towns tap P.I. for dispatching

Posted May 06, 2009, at 7:41 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:48 a.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Two rural towns are looking to the city of Presque Isle to take over their emergency dispatching services.

The state Public Utilities Commission increase in rates for dispatch services to a number of communities has some looking at alternatives in order to retain the same service at a lower price.

Officials from Mapleton and Ashland have approached the Presque Isle Police Department about dispatching services, Chief Naldo Gagnon said Wednesday.

Right now, dispatching services for both towns are handled by the Houlton Regional Communications Center, which is inside the Maine State Police barracks.

The PUC decision will allow such answering points to impose the rate increase for dispatching services as of July 1.

Gagnon said Wednesday that his department would charge a rate lower than that set by the PUC to both Mapleton and Ashland and that doing so would bring in extra revenue for Presque Isle.

Gagnon said that under the proposal, the PIPD would dispatch for Ashland’s police, ambulance and fire departments. Ashland has a population of approximately 1,474 people, and Gagnon said the city would charge the town an annual fee of $11,792 for the service. That is lower than the $17,776 yearly contract offered by the PUC.

“The City Council already has approved us to do that for Ashland,” Gagnon said Wednesday. “Now, the Ashland Town Council has to approve it.”

He added that Mapleton has close to 1,889 people and is looking to have the PIPD dispatch for their fire department. The town does not have a police or ambulance department, but handles fires in Mapleton, Chapman and Castle Hill.

Gagnon said that PIPD would charge an annual fee of $5,667, which is lower than the PUC’s rate of $9,338.

Mapleton officials already have agreed to the change, so the PIPD will dispatch for their fire department beginning July 1.

Gagnon said he does not anticipate having to hire extra personnel to handle the calls.

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