Please vote on police question

2 years ago

To the editor:

We are coming upon Election Day, and along with your regular referendum ballot, you will find a separate paper ballot asking a question concerning the construction of a new City of Caribou police station. This is a non-binding, simple survey — a yes or no question.

 An architectural firm was hired to draw a design and provide a cost estimate for a standalone police station, [at a] location to be determined later. The city held an open house in September and the architects were on site to answer questions and provide information. The cost they came up with was $9.9 million. This figure is not cast in stone.

I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that Caribou is in need of a new police station. They have long ago outgrown their present space and there is need for them to have a larger, more secure place in which to work. And there is no question that it’s going to be expensive. 

We’ve been battling this back and forth for about five years now. By putting this question out to the public, it will give the city council an idea in which direction to go. If the majority votes yes, then the council and city manager will move forward with pursuing available grants and other financial assistance, looking into available funding, and settling on a final location, among other things. This will cost money and be time-consuming, so it’s important that we get citizens’ direction on this. If you vote no, then we are basically back to square one. I might add that we have had two architectural firms look into the possibility of renovating several other buildings and they agreed that it would not be financially prudent to do so.

I am not writing this on behalf of the city council. I am expressing my thoughts as an individual councilor and taxpayer. Please vote, and remember this is just a question. Once a final plan for a new police station is in place, it will go to the voters for the final say.

Joan Theriault