Boothbay Harbor interviewing police sergeant candidate

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 2:30pm

    Boothbay Harbor is slowly making progress in filling vacancies in its police department. Sgt. Pat Higgins’ departure April 15 leaves the force with only Chief Doug Snyder and patrolman Larry Brown, who is out on medical leave, as full-time officers.

    But help may be on the way. On April 10, Town Manager Julia Latter reported during the selectmen’s meeting about two applications. One was for a sergeant’s job, and another for a full-time patrolman. The town also received three reserve officer applications.

    The lack of a fully staffed department with full-time officers has some residents concerned about public safety. Resident Lenore Imhof voiced concerns during the public forum. She did not believe the town had enough protection in emergencies. She cited the March 19 shooting incident at the Campbell Creek Housing Complex as an example. “I’m concerned about active shooters scenarios. Recently, there was an incident where one neighbor shot another neighbor 10 times. A border patrol agent was the first law enforcement officer to respond,” she said.  “I’m concerned about response time.”

    Latter responded the town was finalizing a new memorandum of understanding with the county sheriff’s department for expanded coverage. Last fall, Boothbay Harbor and the sheriff’s office entered into an interim agreement. On March 27, Lincoln County officials met with selectmen regarding another temporary pact. Commissioners will review the proposal for possible approval next month. Until then, sheriff’s patrols and reserve officers would provide around-the-clock coverage, Latter said. 

    “We are not without coverage. There is always a patrol on duty whether it’s one of our reserves or county patrolmen,” she said. Imhof wanted information about the new memorandum agreement along with the financial details, but Latter said that would have to wait. “We can’t release the agreement until it’s been approved by the commissioners. There will be a press release sent detailing the coverage and financial arrangement.”  On April 11, County Administrator Carrie Kipfer said the commissioners would not act on the memorandum until May.

    In other action, Sunrise Ecological owner Shri Verrill updated selectmen on progress regarding the Community Resilience Partnership. Verrill is the service provider for Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay, Southport and Wiscasset in the governor’s “Climate Action Plan: Maine won’t wait.” The four towns need to complete the following steps to advance in the grant process: One is adopting a municipal resolution establishing a citizen committee to coordinate activities that make the community more resilient to climate change. Second is completing two self-assessments to assess progress and identify next steps. Three is holding a public workshop reviewing assessment results and prioritizing projects. Four is submitting each community’s enrollment material.

    Following completion, towns may submit an individual request for up to $50,000 through a Community Action Grant for identified projects, or two towns may submit a joint application for up to $125,000. Verrill estimated the deadline as late summer or early fall with grants awarded next spring. Verrill urged Boothbay Harbor selectmen to appoint three to nine residents to serve on the resilience committee. 

    Certified Public Accountant Fred Brewer presented his municipal audit results. He complimented the town for collecting a large amount of taxes. He reported the town committed nearly $7.8 million in tax dollars and received nearly $7.8 million in payments. Brewer said the town’s investment in parking meters had doubled their revenues. 

    Selectmen approved a wharves and weirs application for Boothbay Harbor Waterfront Preservation. The nonprofit proposed installing eight 10-foot by 20-foot floats and four pilings for its Atlantic Avenue location. 

    Selectmen also approved a new Class G victualer’s license for Windsong Cafe at 23 Townsend Ave. and a special amusement license for Boothbay Harbor Inn at 31 Atlantic Ave. 

    Selectmen meet next at 6 p.m. Monday, April 24 in the conference room.