This week has brought some interesting health-related stories to Camden Herald readers, including a local nonprofit ambulance service seeking a massive increase in funding from four towns, as well as rejection of an offer made by the potential buyer and operator of an upscale alcohol treatment facility.

It's an interesting juxtaposition — an emergency service struggling to keep its doors open looks for community and municipal funding, while a high-end treatment facility fully capable of paying more than $100,000 in property taxes is rejected.

One would not offset the other.


Camden First Aid Association, by all accounts, is a welcome, needed service in the area. However, waiting until the twelfth hour to request funding they should have anticipated would be needed may not have been the best idea. Municipalities, already anticipating a substantial  — and still not completely known — decrease in state funding, are likely ill-prepared for such an enormous request by a local agency. One town, Hope, already has said it will mostly probably seek emergency medical service from a neighboring town, saving tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

Not knowing what CFAA's alternative plan, if any, might be, it's difficult to determine the best path forward. While there are other options for emergency medical service in each of the towns, it seems town officials are working hard to find whatever money they can shuttle toward CFAA. The ultimate decision will be made by taxpayers during town meeting, though, so even if the money is somehow found, there may be some residents opposed to increasing the amount paid to Camden First Aid — possibly residents who might be most likely to make use of emergency services. Older residents on a fixed income would be required to choose between an increase in property taxes or taking the chance of being injured and having to pay medical bills for transport on their own. At nearly $500 for a simple emergency trip to a medical facility, those residents might be wise to consider a property tax increase instead.

We think it would behoove the towns to carefully consider all of the options available. Some towns offer a subscription program to residents that creates a pool of money available to cover the costs of transportation to the hospital. Other towns go to bid for emergency services to try and find the best care for the best deal. We've even heard of towns that go without a contracted service — and likely pay the price with longer waits for emergency workers or more advanced medical personnel.

Fox Hill

Initial reactions to a proposed upscale treatment facility at Fox Hill seemed to lean positive, with online comments encouraging development of such a facility. Then, early this week, the deal to purchase, or hold an option on, the property fell through.

While the Fox Hill facility may have been out of reach financially for some, those attracted to such a program could bring their deep pockets to the Midcoast, some argued. Others opposed to the facility worried there could be an increase in the use of certain drugs used to treat addictions.

In this case, being prepared and presenting options to town officials well in advance of an anticipated opening may have been the downfall of the project. While CFAA waited too long to go to the towns, those involved with Fox Hill have said they may have jumped the gun by moving ahead and speaking publicly about the plans without a written agreement with the property owners.

That said, it takes time to make zoning changes and information is required before those changes can be approved and put in place for exactly this reason. Only a "myriad" of reasons has been cited by the current owners of the property as to why the potential deal fell through.

And sometimes, even when written agreements are in place — such as with a proposed methadone clinic in Warren — it's still not enough to move the project forward when a community voices its opposition. It seems in Camden there is support for the type of facility proposed, so we will be interested to see if another is planned.