James Seymour (left) and Chris Strout, both firefighters/EMTs in Orrington, put tested hose onto Engine 2 on Oct. 13. Orrington officials are looking to build a new $3.5 million public safety building at the corner of Center Drive and Tupper Drive that would combine fire and police. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

Selectmen in Orrington next week are expected to set a new date for a special town meeting where residents will vote on erecting a $3.5 million building that will house the town’s police office and fire department.

Meanwhile, a group of voters in town are pushing for less expensive proposals. They submitted petitions last month requesting a different special town meeting to consider those less costly ideas.

Both topics are on the agenda for Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Selectmen: setting a date for the special town meeting, and considering those voter petitions, which were presented Oct. 22 and request a special meeting Dec. 11.

Information on who circulated the petition or the number of voters who signed it has not been released.

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The $3.5 million plan for a new public safety building would combine the town’s now separate police office and fire department building, which contain health hazards and code violations. The proposed 13,000-square-foot-building would be constructed at the corner of Center and Tupper drives. The construction would have no effect on the tax rate and would be funded from the combined municipal building reserve account, the tax increment financing account and the undesignated fund balance, officials said previously.

Signs lining Route 15, Center Drive and other well traveled roads in town indicate the community is split over how much the town should spend on a new building. “Support Our First Responders, Vote Yes,” some say. Signs on the other side of the issue promise: “We Will Build It for Less.”

A special town meeting for a vote on the $3.5 million plan was set for Oct. 23. It was canceled when Interim Town Manager Andrew Fish and Town Clerk Susan Carson realized town residents may not have been legally notified of it because the Board of Selectmen had not signed a warrant in accordance with state law.

Selectmen were supposed to set a new date for the vote at their Oct. 22 meeting, according to the agenda for that meeting. That decision was delayed when petitions seeking the Dec. 11 meeting were presented, according to Fish.

State law allows petitions signed by at least 10 percent of the number of votes cast in the town at the previous gubernatorial election to insert an article into the next warrant or to call a special meeting within 60 days to consider an issue.

The Board of Selectmen, not the petitioners, set the date for the special meeting.