WATERVILLE — The Waterville City Council voted 6-1 on Tuesday night to override Mayor Nick Isgro’s veto of a council decision to buy two used ambulances, a move that paves the way for the Fire Department to start transporting patients to hospitals as a backup to Delta Ambulance when Delta is delayed.

The council over the past several weeks has voted twice to postpone a decision on whether to override the veto, asking for more time to explore the issue.

Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro Morning Sentinel file photo by Michael G. Seamans

Because the council voted to override, the city now can buy two used ambulances.

City Manager Michael Roy and Fire Chief Shawn Esler said they would put the ambulance purchase out to bid, a process that was not done when the council voted 6-0 on Oct. 15 to buy two used ambulances for $131,000. Isgro vetoed that action three days later.

City Solicitor William A. Lee III urged the council Tuesday night to put the ambulance purchases out to bid, saying it is extremely important to maintain the integrity of the bidding process. Any purchase of more than $10,000 requires the city to follow a bid process unless the item being purchased is unique – and used ambulances are not unique, according to Lee.

Esler said Tuesday he thinks the city needs a backup transport service in Waterville for when Delta is delayed. The ambulances also could be used to transfer patients to facilities and be on hand at mass gatherings, he said. He said there would be no impact to other communities, and having a backup service might free up paramedics and could increase Delta’s availability in small communities. It also would increase firefighter safety and morale and may generate revenue, he said.

“This gives our hardworking employees a sense of pride and ownership and, most importantly, takes care of our residents when they need it most,” Esler said. “You can rest assured that I stand committed in working with Delta and ensuring this backup plan is successful.”

Councilors Mike Morris, D-Ward 1, and Jay Coelho, D-Ward 5, members of the Fire Department Study Committee, recommended the city buy the ambulances. The city is not licensed to take patients to hospitals, but Delta Ambulance is authorized to do so and has a paramedic on every ambulance.

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