TREMONT – Selectmen on Dec. 15 renewed the town’s annual law enforcement contract with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, approved a new job description for the harbormaster and said “no thanks” to a broadband study proposed by the MDI League of Towns.
Deputy Scott Kane, who takes over as sheriff of Hancock County in January, was at the meeting to answer questions and to advocate for renewal.
Kane said he was offering the same contract as is in effect this year.
“There’s no change in dollars and cents,” Kane said. “The only change is the dates.”
Tremont has no police department. Law enforcement is split between the sheriff’s department and Maine State Police in a call-sharing agreement. In order to increase coverage, the town contracts for 30 hours of exclusive coverage weekly from the sheriff’s department.
The 2015 contract that selectmen approved Monday calls for the sheriff’s department to provide the 30 hours at a rate of $59 per hour.
Kane said he expects the hourly rate to increase when he prepares the contract for 2016.
“It doesn’t appear that all the costs are being accounted for,” he told selectmen.
Kathi Thurston, chairman of the board of selectmen, asked Kane if rumors she heard about the Southwest Harbor no longer providing mutual aid to the sheriff’s department were true.
“I have not heard that has changed,” Kane replied, adding that he would look into the matter.
On Wednesday, Mike Miller, Southwest Harbor’s interim police chief, confirmed his department was continuing to provide aid to the sheriff’s department in Tremont. Earlier in the week, Mount Desert police chief Jim Willis verified that a three-way mutual aid agreement between his department, Southwest Harbor and the sheriff’s department regarding Tremont and signed in 2006 is still in effect.
The drafting of a new job description for the town’s harbormaster generated some controversy earlier this month when a harbor committee member questioned selectmen about their proposal to eliminate any references to supervisory duties in the document.
On Monday, selectmen voted 4-0 to adopt the new job description without any comment.
The new document provides a more succinct description of the harbormaster’s duties, eliminates redundancies and removes any references to a pay scale.
Selectmen had been considering joining with other members of the League of Towns in funding a study of local broadband access. Tremont would have kick-in almost $6,800 for its share of the $52,000 study. The cost-to-benefit ratio didn’t appeal to selectmen.
“It seems like quite a lot of money for a study,” said selectman Chris Eaton.
The board voted 4-0 to opt out.