Lincoln’s security camera program delayed

Posted July 16, 2009, at 9:49 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:15 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — Security video cameras installed months ago to monitor areas along Main Street are not recording any images.

You can forgive Brad Libby and Town Councilor David Whalen for feeling frustrated.

The problem, says Libby, the owner of Motorbrain, an Enfield Road-based information technology company administering the project, is that he cannot yet run fiber-optic cables from the cameras to Lincoln Memorial Library, where the monitoring and recording equipment would need to be installed.

“We need FairPoint [Communications] to allow us to put fiber on their utility poles. FairPoint is saying they want to be paid an upfront cost for us to use the poles,” Libby said Thursday.

The potential cost, which comes after Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. gave permission for the use of its poles and other equipment free of charge, is yet another wrinkle in a project dogged by delays since the Town Council approved it in November 2007.

If not for the delays, Lincoln would be the first municipality in the Lincoln Lakes and Katahdin regions to use such a system. Meant to curtail vandalism and improve downtown safety, the cameras are placed to cover Veterans Square, Main Street, West Broadway and the Lee A. Rush Memorial Gazebo near Mattanawcook Lake.

Councilors voted 6-1 in November 2007 to spend $2,849 on the plan. Motorbrain has donated two cameras, a server and service contract, saving the town about $4,600. The idea is to cover as much of Main Street as possible.

Negotiations with Bangor Hydro and FairPoint continue, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said. The council will review the matter extensively next month before deciding whether to set a contract with FairPoint or pursue other options, she said.

Whalen, who first proposed installing security cameras downtown, hinted that the deal with FairPoint might imperil the entire project if the costs are too high.

“This wasn’t meant to be a real cost burden to the taxpayer,” he said Thursday.

The project seems to have been following its own learning curve, with several changes from the original idea — to connect the cameras by wireless Internet service to the public safety building and town office.

The wireless idea was deemed impractical, and running cable to the public safety building and town office underground is too costly, Goodwin and Libby said.

“There is a lot of challenges with wireless communications and we feel we could provide a more steady and direct service” with cable, Libby said.

The town also might set its own poles in the right of way for fiber-optic cable, if feasible, Goodwin said.

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