Police & Fire

Authorization may help expedite Milo public safety building process

MILO — The town of Milo is currently in the early planning stages of a new building to house the fire, police, and public works departments. The community can spend up to $6,375,000 in USDA funds for the public safety building, which will be located near the business park and across the road from the Milo Water District office less than a mile up Park Street from the 100-year-old town hall where the fire and police departments are currently located.

During a Sept. 5 select board meeting Town Manager Robert Canney said he had no real updates on the project as a contract has been signed with Plymouth Engineering for engineering services.

Canney said the USDA wanted the select board to authorize him to sign relevant documents when needed, as opposed to each item coming back to the board to be authorized. He said this is a common practice in many towns for projects such as the public safety building. 

“They’re recommending you give me permission throughout the duration of the project to sign on behalf of the board and the town, because otherwise it would take forever,” Canney said before authorization was granted.

He said in a couple of weeks he will be sitting down with Plymouth Engineering to go over the latest plans.

In other business, Milo Police Chief Nick Clukey was asked about a school resource officer in SAD 41 that had been discussed in previous meetings.

Clukey said the department does not have the funds to cover its proportional share of a school resource officer and he would also probably have difficulty hiring someone for the position. 

During the SAD 41 annual district budget meeting in June, it was mentioned that funding for a school resource officer position is included in the 2023-24 finances. That evening it was mentioned that if approved by the district and town of Milo, a proposed $38,480 salary for 37 weeks when school is session would be paid for by the district and the other weeks would be covered by the town.

“That never got ironed out in the end because we never got that far,” Clukey said.

He said the Milo Police Department will try to be at the schools as much as it can.

Town Clerk Betty Gormley mentioned a public hearing and special town meeting will be scheduled – likely for next month – per the recommendation of the Maine Municipal Association on property taxes for the Elaine’s Basket Cafe building. Gormley said MMA recommends the town change the lease agreement and pass an ordinance stating renewals will go through the select board.

Canny said he and business owner Elaine Poulin will meet, along with DeWitt-Jones Realty, to discuss what a fair market value may be for Milo.

With the idea of a commune to provide housing for homeless in Bradford being presented in the nearby Penobscot County community, concerns over something similar being proposed for Milo was brought up as the select board worried that the town lacks the resources to serve the residents of such a project. 

“Right now we don’t have an ordinance and if anyone came up proposing something like that, because it’s on their private property, it’s a real slippery slope,” Canney said.

He said any property owner looking to establish such a site would need to meet with the planning board. The board would then go through all the requirements with them and make a recommendation on the request.

Canney said he has had a number of conversations with residents in his three years as town manager about happenings on various properties around the community. 

“Just because somebody’s doing something we don’t agree with doesn’t mean we have the authority to go in there and do something about it,” he said. “The key is it has to be a public safety issue before we can get our health officer and code enforcement officer and you (Chief Clukey) and the fire chief on site and take a look at it and possibly shut it down or modifying something to prevent a public health issue.”

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