GOULDSBORO — Selectmen are seeking an estimated cost of contracting two full-time Hancock County Sheriff’s Office deputies. Their motive, they say, is to compare the quoted amount with how much the town currently spends to provide law enforcement protection and services. They stress no move is afoot to either reduce or restructure the current Gouldsboro Police Department.
At their regularly meeting April 29, selectmen voted 4-0 to direct Town Manager Andrea Sirois to request the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office to “give us a quote for police service [totaling] two, 40-hour shifts” by deputies. In a follow-up telephone call April 30, Board of Selectman Chairman Dana Rice told The American that the quote was sought strictly to gauge law enforcement coverage costs elsewhere in Hancock County. Rice said it was not the first time Gouldsboro had requested such an estimate from the sheriff’s department.
At present, the Gouldsboro Police Department comprises Chief John Shively and Officer Adam Brackett. In mid-April, both police officers were back performing their jobs following several weeks during which the town manager and selectmen dealt with a personnel matter. Upon the officers’ return, selectmen voted 5-0 on April 15 to hire a third-party mediator for the police department. Those services, which cost $400 per hour for an estimated 20 hours, is expected to total $8,000.
At the Budget Committee and Selectmen’s joint meeting April 21, Budget Committee Member Dave Seward asked why a mediator was needed. Rice replied that the mediation was a process “that has to be followed,” and failure to do so “could place the town in peril.” Because the matter concerned personnel, Rice said he could not elaborate further, saying the mediation was a “proactive instead of retroactive” move.
In other business April 29, in a 4-0 vote, selectmen accepted the budget committee’s recommended 2021-2022 municipal budget totaling $1,992,302 — an 8.54 percent rise — over the 2020-2021 budget of $1,835,535. The recommended 2021-2022 municipal budget does not contain the town’s Hancock County $209,374 assessment or school expenditures totaling $3.05 million. Voters will have the final say at annual town meeting scheduled for June 9.