Selectmen OK purchase of new ambulance

WILTON – Selectmen have authorized Ambulance Service Chief Steve Desrosiers to begin the process of executing a lease-purchase of a 2017 ambulance. Beginning the process now, Desrosiers told selectmen on Jan. 2, will guarantee they can get the vehicle in question and take possession probably in April.

The new ambulance will be on a Ford chassis, as is the present one, four-wheel drive, and built by AEV, a Maine company. The lease would be for seven years, with an early payment option.

Desrosiers said he had received six bids and “this is the one that best meets our need and fits our budget.”

Desrosiers said they had dealt with AEV in the past.

The purchase has to be approved at a town meeting, but waiting until March could mean the loss of this vehicle, require the purchase of a 2018 model at a higher cost, and not have the ambulance before late summer. The ambulance was scheduled to be replaced in 2020.

Desrosiers discussed the 2007 vehicle, which has “some electrical problems we can’t find the reason for” with selectmen last month. Repairs to the vehicle are more than the payments on the proposed lease. At that time, he was given authority to request bids and prepare documents.

The service’s other vehicle is a 2014 that also has some problems.

Desrosiers said money currently in a capital reserve fund would cover the lease payments until 2020 when Temple and Lyndeborough, the other users of the service, are scheduled to make payments toward a new vehicle.

“When we get that money,” he said, “we could pay off the lease.”

Cost of the new ambulance is about $200,000.

In the meantime, Desrosiers will meet with the selectmen in the other two towns to discuss the proposal.

The purchase will include new heart monitors and defibrillators for both ambulances, which need to be replaced.

Town Administrator Scott Butcher said, “Given the condition of the 2007, and repair costs, keeping it another two years would be very problematic.”

Breakdowns have caused the service to use mutual aid more than they would like.

The new ambulance would be kept for 10 years.