NEW GLOUCESTER — Phil Vampatella invited selectmen Monday night to join him for a cup of tea or a cocktail at his kitchen table to see firsthand the speeding cars and motorcycles that pass his home near Memorial Elementary School.

“I invite any or all of you to sit at my kitchen table and see if anyone goes 15 miles per hour. I’d like to see police presence. I’d like to see something done to slow cars down,” he said.

Instead, Vampatella was invited to join the town’s Public Safety Committee as a volunteer. He declined.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Steve Libby said the town has had discussions on police presence townwide, but dropped out of a regional effort a decade ago.

A first-year contract to establish a 40-hour per week police department would cost between $140,000 and $150,000, Libby said. The startup covers equipment and a vehicle, he said.

If in the future, any effort to proceed with local police coverage would require an in-depth study.

The board suggested contacting the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department and the Maine State Police because they patrol the town.

New Gloucester disbanded its police department in 1989.

At a selectmen candidates forum Friday, candidates thought a dedicated police department is something for the future. A constable presence was suggested as a way to slow cars and deter break-ins. The candidates said there was a need for a police department, but not in these difficult financial times.

In other business Monday, the board reviewed a first draft of an Emergency Medical Services Billing Policy related to transport by the town’s ambulance service. New Gloucester deputy treasurer and bookkeeper Harry Childs told the board that 213 people, or 60 percent of those transported in the past 18 months, have outstanding bills.

If approved, a billing policy would spell out the billing and collection procedures, payment plans, waivers and bill-collecting procedures. This plan, if adopted, would also deal with outstanding balances turned over to a collection agency for a fee.

No action was taken.

Finally, the board agreed to pay for an engineering evaluation for site distance safety for the schoolhouse lot next to the Village Store in Lower Gloucester. Selectmen are negotiating the sale of the land.

Though Maine’s Department of Transportation said the site distance was adequate for an entrance, Libby argued that he was concerned for safety and due diligence before selling the lot, which voters approved at the annual town meeting in May.

He said Sam Coggeshall of the Village Store is interested in purchasing a lot next to the store.

Josh McHenry argued that the engineering requirement is unnecessary because MDOT gave approval for any entrance permit.

Libby said the engineer’s report would be a tool to get the full value from the property sale and provide due diligence on the part of the town. The engineering cost would be added to the purchase price when that is determined.


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