Houlton benefits from seized assets, purchases ambulance

Posted May 10, 2011, at 5:57 p.m.

HOULTON — A 1994 GMC truck and $4,070 in cash are now municipal property after the assets, which were seized by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency as a result of an investigation, were accepted by Town Councilors on Monday evening.

The council voted unanimously to take possession of the 1994 GMC Sierra truck and $4,050 in U.S. and Canadian currency during the brief meeting. The forfeited assets were transferred to the town from the Maine District Attorney’s Office.

Town Manager Doug Hazlett said on Monday evening that the $4,050 will be used by the Houlton Police Department to outfit its newest police cruiser with equipment. The town’s public works department will inspect the truck and see if it will be suitable for use by the town. If not, it will be sold and the money deposited in the town’s coffers.

Hazlett said Tuesday this is the first time during his six-year tenure as manager that the town has been transferred money by the state as a result of an MDEA seizure.

He said the town likely will have the cash and truck in hand within the next 30 days.

In other business, councilors authorized Hazlett to waive the bid process so that the town could secure a 2010 GMC demo ambulance for $171,000 from Autotronics in Madawaska.

The manager told councilors that he was not normally a fan of waiving the bid process, but said he felt the deal was too good to pass up. The ambulance has only 5,000 miles on it, and the town will purchase it for $28,000 off the sticker price.

Council Nancy Ketch agreed that the town “should not let the opportunity go.”

Fire Chief Milton Cone said the town had purchased equipment from Autotronics in the past and had always been satisfied with the result.

“I believe this will be a  very good purchase for the town,” said Cone.

Money for the ambulance was included in the town’s $9 million budget when it passed in February.

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