April 20, 2019

Knox County building lease questioned

ROCKLAND – Donald Choquette of Spruce Head took the Knox County commissioners to task Tuesday for allegedly failing to disclose public information about the county’s lease-purchase agreement for the building on Old County Road that once was leased by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

“That project is one of the most significant since the renovation of the courthouse and replacement of the old county jail in 1991,” he said. “The way I see it, that’s going to be a multimillion-dollar endeavor.”

Choquette asked the commissioners when they would have a public hearing on the agreement, why they changed architects without getting a bid, and why they entered into an agreement on a building they said in 2006 they had no interest in.

Commissioner Lawrence Nash asked that a letter be written addressing Choquette’s concerns.

County commissioners agreed two weeks ago to lease the building to house the Knox County Sheriff’s Department patrol unit, Emergency Management Agency and Knox County Communications Center for $5,500 a month until modifications are completed, and for $16,250 a month afterward, for up to five years. The county reserves the option to buy the building before the five-year period is up.

Interim County Administrator Jeff Northgraves said there probably would be some kind of public information meeting on the building in May.

He said the budget committee, which included the figures as part of a public budget hearing last fall, built financial arrangements for the building into the current budget.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners approved the following nominations of new members to the Airport Advisory Committee: Dick Lachance of St. George for one year until 2009, James Kierstead of Camden for three years until 2011, and John Kosnow of South Thomaston for three years until 2011. John Newcomb of Owls Head was reappointed for three years until 2011.



Correction: This article ran on page B3 in the State edition.

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