Litchfield will charge insurance companies the cost of dispatching firefighters and car accident rescue teams

LITCHFIELD — When members of the City Fire and Rescue Service respond to car accidents and vehicle fires, the City of Litchfield will now be partially reimbursed for costs.

Residents on Monday authorized the city’s billing agency, Central Maine Cost Recovery, to bill insurance companies to help recoup some of the expenses of sending crews and vehicles.

About 30 voters, including city officials, attended a special town meeting at Litchfield Central Fire and Rescue Station to weigh in on the issue. They also approved two other service-related items, including a budget for repairing the station parking lot.

The first question, which passed with only two residents opposed, asked if voters would approve a $126,500 project to repair and maintain the station parking lot. Paving is expected to cost $90,000 and estimates for public works materials are $25,000. In late July, officials voted to add 10% to the total cost, bringing the overall estimate from $115,000 to $126,500, to account for any inflationary increases that may arise.

Money for the project will be drawn from the general unrestricted fund account and therefore will not increase any portion of the municipal budget. Any money remaining after the end of the project will be returned to the same account.

City manager Kelly Weissenfels said Tuesday that the station’s driveway had not been maintained since the building itself was completed in 2002.

“Paving the Libby Road entrance will provide year-round access, save time for responses using Libby Road, simplify snow clearing and ensure all equipment can continue to respond to calls in the extreme event that power lines would be down on Hallowell Road outside the station – which happened,” Weissenfels said.

The issue of seeking compensation from insurance companies when the fire and rescue service responds to car accidents passed with only one resident opposed.

At the last regular select committee meeting, Central Maine Cost Recovery owner David Hewins explained that money from insurance companies for these calls has always been available, but insurance companies are not facilitating collection.

The billing agency represents nearly 80 Maine municipalities, and Hewins said its staff have been trained in how to deal with insurance companies. Litchfield will receive the bulk of the compensation, with Central Maine Cost Recovery retaining $25 plus 20% of the amount paid by the insurance company for each incident.

During the meeting, residents asked what would happen if someone didn’t have insurance, and it was explained that they wouldn’t be billed because Central Maine Cost Recovery would only deal with companies. insurance.

Residents also unanimously passed an article that would allow for quick agreements between other community emergency response personnel when necessary for public safety. By virtue of this point, the select committee could always review these agreements after the fact if it deemed it necessary. The fire and rescue chief and the general manager would also inform the municipal authorities of the agreements before they are signed.

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Kristan F. Talley