Farmington to install cameras downtown

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FARMINGTON — The town is moving ahead with plans to install downtown security cameras that would cover major municipal parking lots, intersections and downtown businesses and assist in police investigations of crimes.

The downtown Tax Increment Financing advisory committee Tuesday approved a motion to allow Farmington Deputy Police Chief Shane Cote to pursue installation of 10 cameras.

The cost would be $3,500, according to Cote, and 30-day video storage would cost an additional $2,500 per year. Those figures do not include the cost of installation.

Nothing specific prompted the discussion of security cameras, but Cote said it’s something police have been talking about for years.

If approved by the committee and the Board of Selectmen, he said, the installation could happen in a month.

“With cameras downtown, it would help us quite a bit with investigations,” Cote said. “It can be used to verify what someone said — whether they were driving through downtown, or walking through. And not that there have been a lot of crashes, but for those that happen, now we have video footage. Vandalism happens every few months, stuff like that.”

If the project is successful, more cameras could be added to the town’s account — up to 36 total through the company being considered, Nest.

Committee Chairman Buzz Davis also suggested expanding the surveillance to the University of Maine at Farmington campus, which Cote said has some security cameras but is not completely covered.

The Police Department will need local businesses to volunteer their buildings as well as supply them with wireless internet for the cameras to work.

Initial funds for the cameras would come from the TIF account the town has, and in subsequent years they could easily be absorbed by the town budget, officials said Tuesday.

In other business Tuesday, the committee discussed a Front Street retaining wall and culvert project scheduled to start at the end of the month and a Maine Department of Transportation property at 103 Bridge St.

The state has presented Farmington with an offer to lease the Bridge Street property for 20 years for $2,500, but the committee withheld action Tuesday night to see if any businesses in the area can offer plans for development at the site.

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