Machias selectmen to hire additional police officers

Posted Sept. 14, 2011, at 7:57 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — The town’s Board of Selectmen unanimously agreed Wednesday night to advertise for one, possibly two, new police officers.

Chief Grady Dwelley told the board that manpower at the department had dwindled dangerously low. He said he is losing one officer to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, another to a community police department, one is headed to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy for training and a fourth is headed out on medical leave.

“Very shortly there is the real possibility that I’ll be the only full-time police officer in Machias,” the chief said. “It is getting extremely difficult to get anything done.”

Dwelley said he has several good candidates to fill reserve shifts but needs to hire two temporary full-timers. “The money is already there in my budget,” he said.

The board agreed to advertise for a single position but likely will hire two officers.

In other business, the board accepted a bid of $166,564 for road repairs from Hanscom Construction, a local firm and the only bidder on the five upcoming projects.

The work and its costs are:

• West Kennebec Road — $142,567, ditching, culverts, cross-road pipes.

• Water Street — $4,970, replace a culvert that has pushed through the roadway, install a catch basin.

• Allen Avenue — $4,677, two catch basins and shoulder work.

• Intersection of Pleasant and Spring avenues — $3,995, new pipes, new catch basin, ditching, remove pavement and regrade.

• Center Street — $10,415, remove 130 feet of sidewalks on the eastern side of the road, reset curbing on western side of the road, and define the road’s border.

The original bid for Center Street called for new curbing on the eastern side but the actual side of the road comes to the third step of the Centre Street Congregational Church. In order to afford curbing on that side of the street, Town Manager Chris Loughlin suggested shortening the paving list.

The board, however, objected and deleted the new curbing from the project.

“As a taxpayer, I’d rather see paving than shiny new curbs,” Selectman Danny Manchester said.

The projects will get under way immediately, Loughlin said.

The board also:

• Awarded the sand bid to By Us at $7.25 per yard.

• Accepted with regret the resignation of town office employee Susan Spencer.

• Abated $5,000 in taxes from FairPoint Co., which underwent bankruptcy in 2009.

• Approved advertising for an on-call snowplow truck driver.

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