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Black Lives Matter Rally Coming, Fire Station Site Not Determined, Ambulance Billing Clarified

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Here’s an overview of the Dec. 23, 2014 Westford Board of Selectmen meeting.

Young Girl Gets Approval for Black Lives Matter Rally on Town Common

Margaleet Katzenblickstein was issued a permit for a rally on Jan. 5 to highlight recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City regarding police and race relations.

Westford Police Captain Mark Chambers said the Westford Police Department had no issue with the event, but urged everyone in attendance to respect the neighborhood and behave peacefully.

A $100 fee to cover a police detail at the event was waived by a 4-0-0 vote.

Westford Needs A New Fire Station, But Where?

A study looking at response times for potential fire stations indicated that the current locations for the Rogers Fire station in Forge Village and the Nabnasset Fire station are optimal, but it’s unclear what route should be taken for a third station.

A location somewhere near McDonalds on Littleton Road or the corner of Littleton and Powers roadsor Boston Road would yield lower response times than the current location at the town center.

However, it was understood that a location on Littleton Road would probably not be feasible.

If a smaller fourth station was factored in, models generally recommended that it be placed on Groton Road.

Other factors, such as differing needs for varying ambulance calls and the availability of medically trained individuals nearby before first responders arrive were also discussed.

Preliminary plans for a new station next to the police station were discussed along with a plan for a station on Boston Road across from the former Drew Gardens property.

Although it appeared a decision on which site should be pursued would be made during the meeting, the final decision was delayed to allow for additional information, although a site recommendation for Town Meeting voters will need to come soon.

Temporary Ambulance Billing Policy Approved, Voters Will Address Permanent Policy in Spring

The town has not had an official billing collection process for people using ambulances, only a Town Meeting vote in 2002 indicating that residents and non-residents facing hardship should not pay (unless insurance companies pay residents directly for reimbursement).

The lack of an official process has apparently cost the town $60,000 per year.

Kelly Ross on Dec. 23, 2014
Kelly Ross on Dec. 23, 2014

Selectmen voted 4-0-0 to approve a proposed billing procedure, minus a section that forced residents to pay something if they had not yet met an insurance deductible.

The portion regarding the insurance deductible will be brought to voters at Town Meeting in March.