Gill voters to consider EMS contract, resolution backing political donation limits

  • The Gill Selectboard met at Slate Memorial Library on April 24. FOR THE RECORDER/EMILEE KLEIN

Staff Writer
Published: 6/9/2023 6:51:04 PM

GILL — Supporting a new constitutional amendment to limit corporate monetary contributions in politics and funding an agreement with Northfield EMS for ambulance services are among the topics to be voted on during Annual Town Meeting.

The meeting, to be held Monday at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, will have voters consider a 21-article warrant, which can be viewed at

‘For Our Freedom’ amendment

Article 7 proposes a letter of resolution supporting a new constitutional amendment, titled “For Our Freedom,” that would limit corporate monetary contributions in politics.

The 28th Amendment would overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a Supreme Court case from 2010 that classifies corporations’ independent expenditures in political campaigns as part of free speech. The amendment separates people from “non-human entities” like businesses, and limits super PACs (political action committees) and dark money that proliferate state and federal political campaigns and elections.

Steve Bathory-Peeler, a resident who drafted a related article for the Town Meeting warrant, presented the draft to the Selectboard on April 24. Bathory-Peeler said he heard about the amendment from American Promise, a nonprofit that focuses on curbing campaign spending.

“An amendment to our constitution is something citizens can do when the Supreme Court makes a mistake,” Bathory-Peeler told the board. “There’s so much money in politics now that we can’t get things done right.”

Selectboard member Greg Snedeker mentioned the power money holds in politics and the inequality of power held by a handful of wealthy people. Snedeker also noted rural towns such as Gill lose funding when corporate interests overshadow the needs of small municipalities.

“As a small town, it’s not in our interest at all to accept dark money and things like that,” Snedeker said. “The inequalities that you see in Chapter 70, all of that plays out in political power and equity and its ability to sway votes.”

EMS service

Approval of Article 17 would fund the first contract year of ambulance services with Northfield EMS.

The Gill Selectboard was prompted by a May 2022 letter from the Franklin County Emergency Medical Services Committee to contract with an ambulance service or pay a $350 fee per service. The town has held only informal agreements with surrounding EMS agencies previously, contributing to what Matt Wolkenbreit, president of the Franklin County Emergency Medical Services Committee, deemed a broader issue of EMS agencies being unreimbursed.

In April, the Selectboard approved an agreement with Northfield EMS that would allow Gill 24-hour emergency medical services with an annual assessment of $15,000, pending approval at Annual Town Meeting. Gill officials reasoned that entering an agreement would be relatively cost-efficient, particularly considering the alternative. While mulling the options, the Fire Department expected American Medical Response (AMR), which had previously been in a non-contractual agreement with Gill, would start charging $400 per call for service. These fees would amount to an annual cost that would eclipse the $15,000 assessment due to Northfield EMS.

If approved at Annual Town Meeting, service will begin on July 1 of this year and continue through June 30, 2024, with an opportunity for periodic extensions throughout a period of 25 years.

Other articles

Other articles on Monday’s warrant involve approving a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement between the town of Gill and Kearsarge Gill LLC for a solar facility located at 588 Main Road; creating an Opioid Settlement Stabilization Fund; allocating $23,100 to seal cracks in the town’s asphalt roads; and transferring $40,000 from free cash or other available funds to reduce the tax rate for fiscal year 2024. The proposed operating budget is nearly $2.24 million, up from nearly $1.92 million this fiscal year.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-930-4231 or Intern Emilee Klein contributed to this story.


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