May 24, 2019

County to purchase three `new generation’ cruisers

CARIBOU — The Aroostook County Commissioners voted Wednesday to purchase three “new generation” police cruisers to save on fuel costs.

Bids are being solicited on three Ford Taurus cruisers. The purchase funds were built into the 1991 county budget.

“This will be the first time we solicit bids on downsize cruisers,” said Danny Martin, county administrator. “These will be front-wheel-drive, much smaller and a new concept for police cars in the 1990s. We’re not sure if anyone else in Maine has done it, but we’re willing to try.”

The smaller vehicles are expected to offer fuel mileage as high as 28 miles per gallon compared with 10 to 13 mpg by the present cars, he said.

Bids were opened on proposals by architecural and engineering services regarding the faulty control panel at the new county jail. They were from Ames Associates Consulting Engineers and WRBC Architects-Engineers of Winthrop; Allied Architects-Engineers of Gorham and S.D.I. Inc. of Scarborough.

After review of bids by Martin, Sheriff Edgar Wheeler, Chief Deputy Don Hallett and Ralph Nichols of the Maine Department of Corrections, a recommendation will be made at the commissioners’ April 24 meeting.

Martin said it appeared costs could be $4,000 and $15,000, “depending on how high-tech we want to go” for a site investigation and technical evaluation to correct the problems of the control panel.

Additional funding would be required for construction of a new system, Martin added.

A meeting was set for May 6 for the third step in a grievance proceeding with the county and the Teamsters representing a jail guard, Greg Clossey of Houlton.

Commissioners accepted the resignation of Donald Hallett of Island Falls from the county’s Finance Committee. Hallett was one of the nine committee members elected from subdistricts in November. Since then Hallett has been hired as chief deputy sheriff.

According to the new county charter, an unexpired term may be filled by the Finance Committee, subject to confirmation of a majority of the commissioners, and the new member must be from the same municipality as the person vacating the position. However, the Finance Committee members does not begin work officially until next fall on the 1992 budget and has yet to meet.

Because the county is still in transition after establishing the first county charter in Maine, Hallett’s resignation was submitted to the commissioners. An organizational meeting will be held in late April or early May to elect a Finance Committee chairman and possibly choose Hallett’s replacement, Martin said.

Robert Jones, the county’s emergency management director, was directed to develop a recycling program for county government offices. During the next two or three months, Jones will visit county facilities in Fort Kent, Caribou and Houlton and offer a recommendation by May 15.

Commissioners ratified the sheriff’s nomination of Sgt. James Bell as interim county jail administrator after the resignation of David Rodrigue, effective March 8. Bell will begin duties March 15.

March 27 is the closing date for applications for the job of jail administrator. Application screening will be held March 28 and 29. Interviews with finalists will begin April 1 in Houlton.

A public hearing was set for May 7 in Connor regarding the proposed renaming of roads in that township. Martin said he had met with Lee Doody Jr., county roads consultant; Gardner Sperrey, Caribou fire chief; and Everett Cole, Caribou postmaster, to discuss the matter.

The issue arose after the state renamed Emond Road in Connor New Sweden Road. Brcause the city already had a road by that name, confusion arose when people on Emond Road started using a New Sweden Road address, Cole said Thursday.

Emergency calls directing firetruck or ambulance service to New Sweden Road would pose an additional problem, Cole said.

Commissioners reappointed the following registrars of voters: Stan Thomas, Madawaska Lake (Township 16 Range 4); Marlene Staples, Connor Township; and Doan Duffy, Benedicta Township.

Martin was authorized to hire a part-time secretary for the Caribou office to replace Tina Saucier who resigned last month.

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