Credit: Town of Gouldsboro

Local voters in the Hancock County town of Gouldsboro decided Tuesday to keep the town’s police force, defeating a citizen’s proposal to dissolve the department.

The initiative to eliminate the department was rejected by 70 percent of the voters who cast ballots, resulting in a tally of 169 in favor and 395 opposed. Had the proposal been approved, the town would have sought to contract with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office for regular police coverage.

At a public forum in April on the proposal, some local residents said the department was too expensive to sustain, while others were critical of police Chief Tyler Dunbar.

Dunbar resigned as chief earlier this month, citing “a clear lack of political support for the police department from the town government,” as the primary reason for his resignation. Dunbar said Wednesday would be his last day as chief.

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The vote on the department’s future had been scheduled for June 11, but a clerical error in posting the town meeting warrant resulted in the vote being postponed two weeks, to Tuesday.

Voters on Tuesday also elected two new members to the town’s board of selectmen and re-elected a third. Incumbent Ernest West was re-elected to a three-year term to the board with 369 votes, while newcomer Walter Moore also won a three-year term with 330 votes.

Christopher Urquhart was elected to a two-year term on the board with 272 votes. Urquhart will finish a term left vacant when former selectman Bill Thayer died in April.

In a close race for the town’s planning board, Robert Youtt edged out Melinda Boumans for a seat on the board by one vote, winning 296 to 295. Also elected to the planning board were Jeffrey Grant with 419 votes and longtime planning board member Ray Jones with 359.

[Gouldsboro police chief resigns two weeks before vote on department’s future]

The open session of Gouldsboro’s annual town meeting is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m., Wednesday in the gymnasium of Peninsula School in the village of Prospect Harbor.

In voting to keep its own police department, Gouldsboro became at least the second coastal Maine town this month to make that choice. Voters in Thomaston earlier this month opted to keep their own police department by a similar margin.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....