Brunswick police station project heads to final council vote

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BRUNSWICK — The Town Council on July 9 will hear a second reading and vote on borrowing funds for a new police station.

At their June 18 meeting, councilors unanimously approved the recommendation of the Police Station Building Committee. It includes the addition of an exterior sallyport and an alternative heating system, both of which added to the total project costs and bumped the proposed expenditure up to $5.6 million dollars.

Councilors praised the work of the committee and said that the new police station will provide a better working environment for officers.

Opponents, however, still feel the cost of the proposed police station is too high.

Former Councilor Karen Klatt, in a letter to The Forecaster, said she thinks the town could have gone about the process better and not “circumvented the will of the people.”

Klatt suggested that the approximately $1 million cost of the property at the corner of Pleasant and Stanwood streets is too much and that the council and the Police Station Building Committee should have more strongly considered purchasing property at Brunswick Landing.

“As I have said many times, the Police Department deserves a better workplace,” Klatt said. “I do not question the current police station is inadequate. But we are now looking at a project that will cost nearly $7  million in total, and have wasted many millions in other building purchases.”

Klatt suggested that the new police station proposal be put to a referendum, a position supported by Town Councilor Benet Pols.

Pols said that although the Police Station Building Committee’s proposal was unanimously accepted, he expects there to be some conversation Monday about the possibility of a referendum.

“When we initially went to bond the money to buy the land, citizens objected and petitioned to get it on the referendum and that was only the land package,” he said. “Unless they were worn down by the sheer grind of the process, I imagine some people will be interested (in putting it on the ballot) again.”

After a public hearing on Monday night, the council will vote on the possibility of bonding $5.5 million. The balance would come from the money the town appropriated from “other road projects” in its 2012-2013 fiscal budget.

Also at the Monday night meeting, the council will hear public comment and vote on a special amusement license for the Lion’s Pride, 110 Pleasant St., and appoint councilors to town and state boards and committees.

The council meets at 7 p.m. at Brunswick Station.

Amber Cronin can be reached at [email protected] or 781-3661 ext. 125. Follow her on Twitter: @croninamber.