SKOWHEGAN — Residents here have voted for a combined fire and police station to be built on East Madison Road at an estimated cost of $8.9 million, following the results of a ranked-choice vote on Election Day.

Town Manager Christine Almand said in a phone call on Friday that the option won both the plurality and ranked-choice vote tabulations.

Christine Almand

The next step, she said, is to work on the next phase of the contract with the architects and to establish a timeline.

“With the pandemic, we’ve had new ways of interacting with the public,” Almand said. “We have been fortunate to have more of the community engaged and I feel that we’ve had a lot more members of the public communicating with us, often through phone calls to ask questions. I feel that we’ve had a much greater dialogue with the public this time around.”

The Nov. 3 ballot gave voters the following options to rank on the public safety building question: 

• To have a combined police and fire department project on East Madison Road at an estimated cost of $8.9 million;


• To have the police department on 181/185 Water St. and the fire department on 123 Madison Ave. at an estimated cost of $10.7 million;

• To have a combined police and fire department project on Memorial Field/Heselton Street, with the ballfield being relocated to West Front Street, all at an estimated cost of $10.7 million;

• None of the above. 

Since none of the options won the majority vote, the question shifted to a ranked-choice runoff.

Of the four options, voters initially supported East Madison Road with 1,310 votes (31.23% of the vote), 181/185 Water St. with 1,012 votes (24.12%), combined project on Memorial Field/Heselton Street with 625 votes (14.9%), and none of the above with 926 votes (22.07%).

The discussion of a new public safety building has been on the table for years. Last month, town officials met with the public on both Zoom and in person at each facility. During these meetings, the public had the opportunity to see why new facilities were needed, with space restrictions being at the top of the list of needs for each department.

At the 2018 annual Town Meeting, the selectmen greenlit the purchase of a property off East Madison Road, where the idea was to build the site then. At this meeting, the town manager was allowed to sign a purchase and sale agreement and spend $5,500 as a down payment for land. When voters were asked on the ballot the following November to authorize an $8.5 million bond for the new building, they ultimately rejected it mainly because of the cost and location. 

In a survey that went out over the summer, residents overwhelmingly agreed that they understand that new police and fire facilities are needed and that there is a benefit to having both departments under one roof. 

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