The city councils of Bovey and Coleraine held a second joint city council meeting in the new Trout Lake ES Building on the last day of January 2017. No action was taken by either city council but the consensus after the meeting was ‘when’ instead of ‘if’ the two police departments will combine forces in a legal merger. All parties seem to agree that merging the two police departments will save money on things like office supplies, workman’s compensation and liability insurance.
One unresolved issue, however, is how to split the budget of the hypothetical police department between the two cities. Coleraine has over 16 square miles of coverage area versus Bovey’s 2.3 square miles. Coleraine is home to roughly two-and-a-half times more residents than Bovey, but with Bovey having a much higher population density. One city clerk mentioned that the police budgets of the towns differ by about $5,000 per year, and on that basis, a 50/50 split was considered.
During the first joint council meeting a proposal was made to assemble a mock budget of the new police department in order to analyze the fiscal dynamics and try to construct a police budget that would satisfy the needs of the new department. That was impossible, according the city clerks because the two departments have very different labor contracts and medical coverage. And this leads to the next tough question of how to structure the new BoveyColeraine Police Department in terms of the existing precedents.
Even though the two departments could survive indefinitely sharing the same office, several options are available including the dissolving of the Coleraine P.D. and model the new department after the City of Bovey’s P.D. system of policies, or, vise-versa. One other method would be to devise a new system of coverage from the ground-up starting with no precedent, and then abandon both the Coleraine and Bovey departments in lieu of this newly formed system that would be named the BoveyColeraine Police Department. The next joint meeting is scheduled for February.