Camden's budget committee on March 7 voted to recommend $174,000 for Camden First Aid Association costs for fiscal year 2014.

According to CFAA Service Chief Julia Libby, increases in technology, the quantity and stringency of required certifications and expectations from hospitals and the general public have led to increasing costs for the embattled nonprofit organization.

Budget committee members clarified that approval of the $174,000 recommendation would not preclude the inclusion of any "viable alternative" as a line option at the June 2013 town meeting should such a choice become available.

Libby said she was "not unmindful" of the fiscal responsibility the budget increase has placed on participating towns, and said she has financially streamlined "anywhere I could cut."

"I do not regard the towns as a bank," Libby said.

"This is a crisis," Libby added. "I would like to see somehow we get some extra money, and if I can't get all of it, I will attempt to work with it and limp along like we have been and see if we can come up with a solution in the next year and a half for the four towns."

An informational handout distributed at the budget committee meeting listed $100,000 in CFAA capital equipment expenses for fiscal year 2014. Town Manager Patricia Finnigan said the $100,000 request for fiscal year 2014 that appeared in printed budget committee materials was a placeholder estimate prior to the receipt of more up-to-date figures.

Libby said in future years she expects CFAA payroll costs to increase, but anticipates a decrease in expenditures for mortgages and debt services.

CFAA's four ambulances, which Libby referred to as "mobile emergency [rooms]," range in date of commission from 1997 to 2004. Libby said the organization has been considering acquiring a small "sprinter" ambulance for transfers, but said such vehicles are "not very good to work emergencies out of."

Proposed town appropriations included on the handout read as follows: Camden, $177,000; Rockport, $129,000; Lincolnville, $77,000; Hope, $27,000.

The Camden Select Board on March 5 authorized Camden Town Manager Patricia Finnigan "to work with regional town managers [including] Rockport, Lincolnville and Hope to provide a range of options and recommendations to ensure Midcoast residents continue to have reliable, high-quality emergency medical services available to them."

Camden Herald reporter Bane Okholm can be reached at 236-8511 ext. 304 or by email at bokholm@courierpublicationsllc.com.