MONMOUTH – Selectmen voted 3-2 this week to ask the Police Department not to spend 10 percent of its budget in case the the state tax-cap referendum passes in November.

The board said holding onto the approximately $26,000 will prevent voters from taking drastic action in November, and create a reserve account.

Many residents urged selectmen to vote against the proposal. Some noted the budget was approved at the annual town meeting in May and such decisions should be binding.

Fred Ackley spoke about the professionalism of the force. He said the department’s proactive steps make it the best he has seen.

Police Chief Charles Shaw Jr. read a statement and warned about possible effects of 10 percent in cuts, including fewer vehicle and bike patrols.

“I am sure that the people of both North and South Monmouth won’t appreciate the fact that we as a department will be unable to patrol their neighborhoods,” Shaw said. “Watching our mileage forces us to become reactive, versus proactive.”

Also at stake is half-time position and 50 percent of overtime expenditures.

Shaw said that most back-up is paid for with overtime money.

“I would rather pay a couple of extra bucks than have any one of [the officers] go into a dangerous situation alone,” he said.

Selectmen Steve Kolenda, Leonard Bates and Caroline Allen voted in favor of the measure; Polly McDougald and Sharon Wing voted against it.

Selectmen approved cutting their stipends from $1,500 to $1,000 per person as a sign of goodwill.

The board voted to delay discussion on cuts to the other town departments until the next meeting.


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