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Meredith looking at renewal options for ambulance service


October 22, 2020
MEREDITH — The town is looking to extend their contract with Stewart's Ambulance for one year before talking with the three-town intermunicipal group about contract renewal options, including the possibility of bidding the service out.

Meredith currently has an intermunicipal agreement with Stewart's Ambulance along with Center Harbor, Moultonborough, and Sandwich. Last Wednesday, Town Manager Phil Warren presented the board of selectmen with a copy of the current contract extension, which is set to expire in June of 2021. He said at this point the Intermunicipal Agreement group needs to act on the renewal soon. He said under the present circumstances it would be best to renew the contract externally for one year and then consider putting the ambulance service out to bid.

Warren serves on the committee with Fire Chief Ken Jones as Meredith's representatives and said the other communities have had some transitions in their memberships. Warren said he emailed the three other communities to get feelers on how everyone wanted to proceed. So far, he has only heard from Sandwich, who thanked him for the interest and identified who their representatives are. He said he is still waiting to hear from Center Harbor and Moultonborough before going forward with any formal meeting.

Warren asked that the board consider renewing the contract for one more year before continuing with this process.

Board chair Ray Moritz said he thought his option was fine, but would hold off on any opinions before hearing from Stewart's. He said he was sure there was probably some recent investment on equipment and said he wasn't sure how the one-year extension would impact the price of the five-year contract. Warren said he thought that price would probably stay static for the one year, though would probably change for the other four years.

He said he still wanted to put the service out for a Request for Proposal. Selectman Jeanie Forrester asked if the town was unhappy with Stewarts' service. Warren said that was not the case at all, though they haven't taken a closer look at the market in a number of years. Like cable service, Warren said there could be a number of companies who might want the opportunity to come to Meredith. Forrester asked if there were other vendors who could take that service.

"There's a lot of other vendors in the marketplace, the question is do they want to move up?" Warren said. "It's like the cable contract, whether or not we get somebody I don't know."

The last time the contract renewal came up the Intermunicipal Group decided to do nothing and let the contract renew on its own.

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