Thursday, Feb. 6
- Harbor Committee, 5 p.m., Town Hall
- Other Post-Employment Benefits, 10:30 a.m., Town Hall
- Recycling & Renewable Energy, 9 a.m., Town Hall
- Shellfish Committee, 5 p.m. Town Hall
- Year-Round Rental Housing Market, 6 p.m., Town Hall
- Zoning Board of Appeals, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall
Friday, Feb. 7
- Local Comprehensive Plan Committee, 10 a.m., Town Hall
Monday, Feb. 10
- Community Preservation Committee, 1 p.m., Town Hall
- Select Board, 7 p.m., Town Hall
- Water & Sewer Board, 1 p.m., Town Hall
Tuesday, Feb. 11
- Public Landscape Committee, 2 p.m., Town Hall
State Aid Erases Deficit
State aid came to the rescue to close Provincetown’s fiscal 2021 budget deficit.
The $341,000 deficit was eliminated with $200,000 in state aid and other transfers and trims. The select board approved the $31,090,849 operating budget on Jan. 29, and it’s now headed to the finance committee for review. Voters will decide whether to approve the budget at town meeting on April 6.
The most contentious piece of the budget, at least among select board members, was the $80,000 for the fire chief to hire an emergency medical services (E.M.S.) coordinator.
The coordinator would handle paperwork necessary to comply with state rules and regulations for ambulance runs and rescue calls. This staffer would also be a paramedic, thereby filling two roles that the fire dept. needs, said Town Manager Robin Craver.
But Louise Venden, of the select board, said she had a problem with the $80,000 ask. Lower Cape Ambulance, a nonprofit that handles 75 percent of Provincetown’s hospital runs, has the same paperwork done by one 24-hour-a-week staff person.
Why then, would Provincetown need the same service for only 25 percent of the calls?
Bobby Anthony, also a select board member, said if this position were approved, he’d want to make sure that the hiring was process “was open and fair.”
If there is already a hand-picked candidate, “that’s not going to fly,” he added.
Venden said she worries that Fire Chief Michael Trovato is using this position as the first step in creating a full-time ambulance service, which would radically change the current volunteer fire dept. system and do away with the regional Lower Cape Ambulance service now shared with Truro.
Craver told the select board she will do an analysis of the fire dept. as soon as possible. But, she added, this position appears to be necessary no matter what the future holds.
“I’m concerned that paperwork is done correctly and we meet quality standards,” she said.
“Honestly I’m really surprised how you’ve managed. You have a great group of firefighters but so far I haven’t seen much administrative components.”
“The final say as to whether we go to a full-time ambulance service is down to us,” said John Golden of the select board.
Paying a paramedic who can complete paperwork is reasonable support for a volunteer organization, Golden added. —K.C. Myers