May 21, 2019
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Bangor to hold public hearing on LePage’s proposed psychiatric facility

Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Ashley L. Conti | BDN
BANGOR, MAINE -- 12/23/2016 - The lot at 159 Hogan Road in Bangor is seen Friday. Gov. Paul LePage

Bangor city councilors will hold a public hearing Tuesday on Gov. Paul LePage’s plan to build a 21-bed “step-down” forensic psychiatric facility on Hogan Road.

The hearing, which starts at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, is expected to involve city officials, state lawmakers and the public, Council Chairman Joe Baldacci said Sunday.

City councilors last month directed the city’s lawyer to develop proposed language for ordinances to consider as well as a moratorium under the city’s land use code.

Bangor officials have expressed frustration over the lack of information from the LePage administration about the facility, where inmates who have court permission could leave on occasion. City officials earlier requested a meeting with the governor’s office but were told that wasn’t necessary because information about the facility was on the state’s website.

In a weekend op-ed for the Bangor Daily News, Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick, D-Bangor, raised concerns about the lack of information about the governor’s plans.

“[T]he City of Bangor is in the unenviable position of being asked to accept this facility without any real information about what will happen inside,” he said.

The state last month tapped Cianbro Corp. of Pittsfield to build the 8,300-square-foot rehabilitation facility on state-owned land on Hogan Road, roughly across the road from Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center, to house patients found not responsible for crimes they have committed or who are unfit to stand trial.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has questioned whether LePage has the legal authority to place the step down facility outside of Augusta.

The LePage administration hopes the new Bangor facility will alleviate overcrowding at Augusta’s troubled Riverview Psychiatric Center, which lost its federal accreditation in 2013 because of overcrowding and inadequate staffing and for using handcuffs and stun guns to subdue violent patients.

State officials recently were notified that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is recalling $51 million in payments made to Maine since decertification.


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