Preston will seek finance board approval for second resident trooper

Preston — The Board of Selectmen will try once again to win Board of Finance approval to restore a second resident state trooper position, starting in January, for the remainder of the current fiscal year.

Selectmen voted Thursday to forward a request to the finance board for $61,022 to cover the cost of adding the second resident state trooper from Jan. 5 through June 30. Town officials received the salary figure from state police Troop E in Montville earlier this week.

If the Board of Finance approves the request, it would be forwarded to a town meeting for approval, but because the total is less than $100,000, the issue would not need a referendum.

But the Board of Finance already has voted three times against placing a second resident trooper in the current fiscal year budget: once in spring rejecting the Board of Selectmen request for the position, again after the budget town meeting and a third time in October. The town had two resident troopers until this fiscal year, and reduced to one resident trooper in response to the state’s new requirement that towns cover 100 percent of the resident trooper costs.

Town officials received a petition in October signed by at least 20 registered Preston voters asking that a second resident trooper be restored to the budget for the remainder of this fiscal year. But the issue ran into controversy when the Board of Finance voted against allocating any money to the position.

Selectmen called for a town meeting regardless of that vote, and residents overwhelmingly voted in favor of restoring the second resident trooper position at a Nov. 2 town meeting. Selectmen delayed sending the issue back to the Board of Finance until receiving the salary total for the requested allocation.

In the meantime, however, three new members have been elected to the Board of Finance: Dan Duprey and Keith Wucik as regular members and Lennie Spencer as an alternate. Previous alternate Stacy Becker now is a regular member.

The Board of Finance next is scheduled to meet on Dec. 20.


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