April 07, 2020

Holden signs aid pact with Hancock County

HOLDEN – With Hancock County towns Dedham and Bucksport as neighbors, it’s a smart move to create the mechanics to be able to work together, Jim Ellis, Holden’s public safety director, told town councilors Monday night.

“It’s not that often that we’ve been called to assist them, but we have,” he said.

Town leaders unanimously endorsed a mutual-aid agreement between the Holden Police Department and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department at the meeting.

“Essentially, it says if one agency needs assistance, they will call,” Ellis said. “It allows the officer full law enforcement authority when they cross those lines.

“We just think it makes sense,” he said later.

The town has a mutual-aid agreement with the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department, signed when the town’s department was created, Ellis said.

The Police Department and its lack of space in the basement office provided at the town office was also a discussion item during the public safety facility subcommittee report, presented on Monday by resident Benjie Grant.

“The Police Department space is basically nonexistent,” he said.

The subcommittee is suggesting that space be rented, a portable building be built or the councilors’ meeting room be partitioned to provide local law enforcement with handicapped-accessible and private space to operate the department.

“There are some confidentiality issues involved,” Jim Muth, subcommittee member, said Monday.

Safety, for the parties involved and Police and Fire department personnel who share the tight space with each other, is the biggest issue, Ellis said.

“There is a huge safety issue,” he said, adding that the 1975 building “just doesn’t fit the bill” in 2006.

The board and councilors discussed how residents in June resoundingly turned down a proposal for a $1.8 million public safety building and renovating the current town hall into space for the Police Department.

“I don’t think the public has a clue,” Chairwoman Ellen Campbell said Monday.

“They saw the dollar figure only and said it was too much,” Councilor Robert Harvey said at the meeting.

Reducing the cost of the project and educating the public needs to be done before it is presented again, the subcommittee and board agreed.

“It’s obvious, the need has not gone away,” Councilor Joel Swanton said Monday.

During the meeting, the board also:

. Renewed the license for the Lakeview Mobile Home Park.

. Appointed Councilor Paul Amoroso to the steering committee for the SAD 63 comprehensive planning commission.

. Purchased 2,500 cubic yards of sand from John Faulkner for $8 a yard and 500 tons of salt, at $55.14 a ton, from International Salt Co. of Brewer.

Correction: CLARIFICATION: A story published Tuesday about the Holden council meeting held Monday requires clarification. A statement made by Town Councilor Ellen Campbell was incomplete in the article. “I don’t think the public has a clue just exactly what you folks are doing and what we’re asking you to do with the limited tools that we ask you to work with,” Campbell said Monday about the town’s police and fire departments.

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