Middleborough OK’s tax increase to pay for new police station
Middleborough Town Meeting resoundingly approved overriding the property tax limits of Proposition 2½ Monday in order to borrow $9.5 million to build a new police station on Wood Street near the old Town Green.
“It was overwhelming,” Town Manager Robert Nunes said. “Three people voted against it, and 249 voted in support.”
Residents had already voted April 2 to support the override, which requires both ballot and Town Meeting approvals.
The positive outcome was in stark contrast to a 2014 vote when residents rejected, by almost a 2-to-1 ratio, a more expensive plan to renovate and expand the existing police station on North Main Street.
Nunes said the town will hire a project manager and hopes to begin construction this year on a one-level police station of about 15,000 square feet on town-owned vacant land.
The Police Department, which currently has 41 officers and eight civilian employees, has been housed in the 1825 Peirce General Store building since 1936. Nunes said the Police Building Committee will study what to do with the old station and return to a future Town Meeting with recommendations.
Stephen McKinnon, chairman of the Vote Yes for a New Police Station Committee, described conditions in the old station as “deplorable” and inadequate for a modern police department.
He said borrowing the money for a new station would cost a taxpayer owning an average house valued at $263,000 about $88 the first year of the 28-year bond, an amount that would gradually decrease from there.
In other action, Town Meeting indefinitely tabled a proposal to increase the fines for parking illegally in handicapped spaces, by a whisker-thin vote of 73 to 72.