CHELSEA — A proposal to fund part-time law enforcement in Chelsea narrowly passed Thursday at Town Meeting.

Town officials were seeking $7,300 to pay for an enforcement and protection program.

Selectman Mike Pushard told the 33 voters who attended that he’s been trying to get a constable back in Chelsea as long has he’s been on the Board of Selectmen.

Town Manager Scott Tilton said that law enforcement could come in the form of a part-time constable, shared with the town of Randolph, whose services would be contracted for. No agreement is in place. The draft agreement spells out what Chelsea would pay for — salary, fuel and vehicle maintenance, for instance.

Residents supporting the idea said they had seen instances of speeding on town roads, and they have been frustrated by the response times of law enforcement agencies. With no law enforcement of its own, Chelsea is patrolled by the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office and the Maine State Police.

Steve Hildreth, whose home is near the crest of a blind hill, said he’s concerned about being able to turn into his own driveway safely, and the speeders live in the neighborhood. He said he lives near Butternut Park and he’s seen plenty of trash and riffraff down there, but little law enforcement presence.


Not everyone agreed that a part-time constable is the answer.

“I am not for this or against this,” resident Jeff Mills said, “but I question whether this is the best value or something else is.”

Among the concerns raised by residents is who would supervise the position and ensure training is up to date and who would set priorities for law enforcement.

Town officials acknowledged the funding requested was not great, but it would be a start.

Most articles on the warrant passed with little or no comment.

The $1.21 million spending plan approved Thursday reflects some adjustments to spending in the current year’s budget — small increases to employee benefits, larger increases for winter and summer road maintenance, and decreases for legal services, board expenses and code enforcement. The total was offset with an appropriation from tax revenue from sources other than property tax of a little more than $420,000.


At the end of the meeting, Tilton made a pitch to residents to take applications to be considered for appointment to the 19 positions in town government that are vacant. In all, 20 positions appeared on the ballot that voters filled out at Tuesday’s election, but only Pushard, who was re-elected to the Board of Selectmen, had filed nomination papers.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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