Published January 09. 2014 4:00AM Updated January 10. 2014 12:20AM
Stonington - The Board of Selectmen on Wednesday approved a plan by the police department to auction off its old police boat next month.
The department is slated to take delivery of a new boat, which is being funded with a $375,000 federal grant, in March.
The new 27-foot-boat features twin 300-horsepower engines, state-of-the art electronics and radar systems, as well as heat and air conditioning. The latter will allow officers to respond to calls in bad weather, according to police Capt. Jerry Desmond, who test-drove the new boat in Seattle, Wash., a few months ago.
Desmond headed the successful effort to obtain the grant, which means the town does not have to put money in the budget to fund a replacement.
Desmond told selectmen Wednesday night that the town will soon be holding an auction of items and the police department would like to include the boat in that sale. He said he is talking to local boat dealers to obtain the fair market value for the boat. By doing that, the town can set a minimum bid for the auction, something that Selectman George Crouse said should be done. Money from the sale would go into the town's general fund.
Desmond said the approximately 15-year-old, 24-foot center console boat has a good hull, but its trailer and 250-horsepwoer engine need work. The boat was new when it was donated anonymously to the department.
At Wednesday's meeting, Constantine Macris, the president of Coastal Environmental Services, a Mystic firm that operates 10 pumpout boats along the southeastern Connecticut coastline, told selectmen that another option would be to donate the boat to his group, which would reuse it for education and research.
In addition to operating the pumpout vessels, Coastal Environmental Services has also assisted Mystic Aquarium with seal and turtle rescues and releases.
Crouse said such a donation could be a logical alternative if the town does not receive the minimum bid at the auction.
Desmond said he would discuss the alternative with the Board of Police Commissioners when it meets at 5 p.m. today at the police station.