Police dispatch headed to County

By Lisa Williams Ackley
Staff Writer

Just 20 ballots made the difference between whether dispatching services for the Town of Bridgton would be handled by the Cumberland County Regional Communications Center (CCRCC) in Windham rather than by the locally-run Bridgton Dispatch. Letters in last week’s edition of The Bridgton News from two Bridgton selectmen and another from the entire board, written by Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz on their behalf, strongly urged townspeople to contract with Cumberland County, based primarily on the projected savings to the town over three years and beyond.

According to the selectmen, “The review of this proposal indicates savings to our taxpayers in the first three years of this (CCRCC) service in an amount of $259,000 with expected annual savings after Year 3 to be about $125,000. The Bridgton Board of Selectmen fully endorsed this approach considering the economic times we all face and it will allow the Town to avoid costly capital equipment upgrades and replacements in future years above the projected annual savings.”

In the end, voters did opt to have dispatch services provided by the Cumberland County Regional Communications Center.

However, the final tally was decidedly close — with 342 in favor of  contracting with the CCRCC, and 322 voting to stay with the current local dispatch services handled in-house. “I certainly respect the voters’ decision, and we’ll work as hard as we can to make the system work to assure emergency responders get to the calls to which they need to go,” Bridgton Chief of Police Kevin Schofield said, soon after the results were known.

Bridgton Dispatch Supervisor Dan Managan had this response to the outcome of the June 14 ballot vote on dispatch services: “We appreciate the people who supported us, and we think they’re going to lose a major asset to the police department,” he said.

Selectmen’s race

Incumbent Selectman Paul E. Hoyt and Bernard N. King Jr. both garnered 301 ballots to win the two three-year seats on the Bridgton Board of Selectmen. Candidate Robert J. McHatton Sr. received 288 votes, and Kenneth J. Murphy had 260 ballots cast for him. Barry N. Gilman ran unopposed for a three-year term on the Bridgton Water District, receiving 566 votes. Brian J. Thomas had 530 ballots cast for him for a three-year seat on the Bridgton Planning Board.

Town Hall vote Article 9 — the non-binding referendum ballot question — gave voters four options regarding the renovation of the Town Hall on North High Street.

Option 1: which was “to complete the basic structural maintenance, building repairs and roof renovations for similar facility uses” for an estimated cost of $400,000, received the most votes — 339.

Option 2: “to complete Option 1 and renovate the exterior siding and roof to meet historical renovation standards which have increased ongoing maintenance based upon the materials used” and meaning “uses in the building could be more restricted” at an estimated cost of $750,000 received 137 votes.

Option 3: “to disassemble the building and replace it with a modern building for similar facility uses” at an estimated cost of between $600,000 and $750,000 saw 94 ballots cast for that choice.

Option 4: to “close the building and disassemble without replacement” received 92 votes.

Ordinance amendments pass All of the proposed amendments to different municipal ordinances were approved by voters, as presented June 14, including those to the Site Plan Review, Shoreland Zoning, Sign and Special Amusement Ordinances, as was the enactmentof a new ordinance entitled,  “Ordinance Controlling Nudity in Commercial or Business Activities Not Requiring a Special Amusement Permit.”

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