OAKLAND — The town has a new police station in its future after voters overwhelmingly approved the project in a referendum Tuesday.

Close to 70 percent of voters who turned out to the polls voted yes for a new station. The final tally was 753 yes to 320 no.

The 3,500-square-foot station will cost an estimated $1.05 million and will be constructed on the footprint of the old station on Fairfield Street. Construction will include an expansion of the adjacent town office parking lot.

Town officials have said the department’s current building, a century-old farmhouse, has serious health and safety issues and is inadequate for the needs of the department.

Town Manager Gary Bowman, a strong supporter of the project, said Thursday night the result was “amazing.”

“This is a good thing for the town of Oakland. We are moving in the right direction,” Bowman said.

“It’s more than we could have asked for,” he said when asked about the landslide vote. “The population of Oakland made a statement. We have some needs, and they certainly stood behind us on this one.”

The single-story police department will include offices, a locker room, interview rooms, a booking area and a secure entrance with a sally port with room for two patrol vehicles. A small conference room with a separate entrance will be used for training and for Town Council meetings.

The project will be paid for with $900,000 in general obligation bonds and $150,000 taken from two reserve accounts. Bowman has said the project will not increase taxes because payment on the bonds will be offset by funding some municipal costs through a tax increment financing district.

Most voters coming out of the polls at around 5 p.m. said they had voted for the new station.

“I know they need it,” said John Irwin. “I was against it in the past, but this seemed to be a reasonable price and I know they need the space.”

Other voters said they felt the town had done a good job keeping the cost of the project low.

“Thumbs up,” said Lisa Hallee at the polls when asked how she voted. “They did a good job at controlling costs,” she said. “The police deserve it.”

Wendy and Tim Hosea said they voted for the new station because they felt the department needed to get out of its current headquarters.

“They’re not asking for the Taj Mahal,” Wendy Hosea said.

But some voters said they were against more town spending on the new station.

“I’m really not in a spending mode right now,” said Ken Worthley Jr. He is retiring soon and suspects that his taxes are going to go up, he said. Two other residents who left the polls with Worthley Jr., but would not give their names, said they also voted against the measure because they were opposed to more spending. While the town has done a good job keeping costs down, the budget for Regional School Unit 18 keeps going up, they said.

Bowman said the town intends to have the department in the new building by the end of November 2016. The town will start putting items in storage and clearing the ground for demolition, he said.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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