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July 18. 2013 1:18AM

Chester and Auburn in new deal with Derry for ambulance service

DERRY — The Town Council recently approved a five-year contract extension for the town's fire department to continue to provide ambulance service to Chester and Auburn.

"The major change in the contract is the increase in the amount of the fees we will receive from the towns," said Derry Fire Chief George Klauber. "The goal of the Town Council a few years ago was to try to find new revenue sources that would not directly impact the taxpayer."Over the next five years, the annual fees paid by Chester and Auburn will increase by 9 percent per year. In addition to the yearly payments, there are also transport fees paid by each patient the fire department transports from those towns, according to Klauber.

"We bill the patients similar to the way we bill the patients in Derry," said Klauber. "We are able to do this without any additional staff requirements."

Klauber noted that even if the town did not provide the services to Chester and Auburn, it would still maintain its current staffing levels and continue to operate one ambulance out of each of the department's four fire stations.

"We've been asked by other communities to provide ambulance services," said Klauber. "We'd like to be able to do that, but don't feel that we can and still adequately provide services to Derry."

The annual payments range from $57,302 for the current fiscal year to $83,896 for fiscal year 2018.

"The Derry Fire Department has been providing medical transport services to the town of Chester since taking over those services from Peabody's Funeral Home in the 1970s," said Klauber. "We have contracted with the town of Auburn since 1990."

Taking the additional transport fees into account, Klauber said the town has $114,000 in revenue from the service budgeted for the current fiscal year.

"I was part of the Town Council that made the recommendation years ago to seek revenue sources that did not impact the Derry taxpayers," said Councilor Neil Wetherbee. "This achieves that goal, and Chief Klauber has done a phenomenal job in the successive years."aswift@newstote.com


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