(Reformer file photo)
(Reformer file photo)

PUTNEY -- The Putney Selectboard is going to recommend that the town end its contract with Rescue Inc. and enter into a new agreement with Golden Cross Ambulance of Claremont, N.H.

The board approved the FY 2015 budget Thursday night, and included in that budget is $36,447 for a one year contract with Golden Cross.

The town will save about $22,000, or 1 percent on its overall general budget, by making the change.

"We can keep dithering on this, or we can jump. And I say we jump," Selectboard member Scott Henry said before the board voted on the budget. "It comes down to dollars and cents."

The final decision will be up to the people who show up at Town Meeting when the budget will be considered for final approval.

Board members knows there could be strong feelings about their decision and say they hope to hold a public information session on the ambulance decision sometime in February.

"We want to be as transparent as possible about this," Selectboard Chairman Josh Laughlin said. "I'm sure there will be a lot of questions, but this really comes down to numbers."

The proposed February meeting will only be an informational meeting.

Putney was one of the original towns that helped form Rescue Inc. in 1966.

If Putney wants to stick with Rescue, money will have to put back into the budget at Town Meeting and the voters there will have to approve the amended budget.

The Selectboard began to debate its ambulance service options early in its budget discussions, and the board heard from representatives from both companies.

Golden Cross has a facility in Westminster, along with its main headquarters in Claremont.

Putney Fire Chief Tom Goddard said he looked at both companies and recommended that the Selectboard go with Golden Cross.

Goddard said he looked at the number of vehicles each company has, as well as response times and services, and in the end Goddard said spending an extra $22,000 for Rescue Inc. did not make sense.

Putney thought about switching over to Golden Cross five years ago but the company was relatively new to its facility in Westminster.

Laughlin said the Selectboard was now more comfortable changing over its ambulance service.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com; or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. You can follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.