Challenge to Brunswick police station bond moves forward

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BRUNSWICK — A petition that seeks to overrule the Town Council’s recent decision to borrow money to buy property for a new police station has secured the required signatures.

The petition signatures were submitted to the office of Town Clerk Fran Smith on Sunday, the day they were due, Smith said Tuesday.

Former Town Councilor Karen Klatt, who launched the petition drive, has said that she and other residents do not oppose providing police with a new station. Her concern is that the land acquisition ordinance the Town Council passed 8-1 on Sept. 20 did not include language that the $1.175 million bond package is for a police station, and that its language was broad and vague.

Klatt has also said such an expenditure, whether it is for a police station or another expense, should go to voters for approval.

The council voted on Oct. 4 to go on the record that the property – four parcels at Pleasant and Stanwood streets – is for a new police station.

Smith said 1,024 signatures were turned in, and that she stopped certifying signatures after 818, since the petitioners met the threshold of 810 required under the Town Charter.

On Monday, Oct. 18, the Town Council will discuss when to hold a public hearing on the petition, Smith said. Once a petition is submitted and validated the council is required by Town Charter to hold a public hearing within 30 days.

The council will ultimately decide whether to rescind the borrowing ordinance it passed, or to send the matter to a voter referendum.

Town Manager Gary Brown said last month, after the petition drive began, that he did not expect the council to reverse its decision. He also said a special referendum could be held in mid-December at the earliest.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.