BERLIN – Town officials are planning to meet during a special meeting to discuss the future of the police station.
“We want to meet with them to discuss a plan,” said Sam Lomaglio, chair of the Board of Finance, Tuesday. “We’re open minded.”
Last month the board agreed to table a transfer of $30,000 from a previous school project to move forward on a study to upgrade the Berlin Police Department’s holding cells. The Town Council previously agreed to the study.
The cells currently have bars which have been reported by police to have been used in suicide attempts by prisoners.
“It’s frustrating,” said Mayor Mark Kaczynski Tuesday about the finance board’s decision to delay the study. “It’s a liability issue.”
Members of the council and finance board will meet during a joint session at the end of the month to further discuss the cells as well as potential renovations of the current police station.
At a recent council meeting, Kaczynski and the councilors questioned the role of the finance board with corporation counsel. A section in the charter deals with excess fund transfers as a responsibility of the finance board.
Members of the council and board will discuss more at the joint meeting.
Lomaglio said he wants to look at potential for a new police station to determine whether the new jail cells should move forward in the current space.
“If it’s five to six years down the road then yeah maybe we do need to do the cells,” Lomaglio said.
The police commission recently drafted a statement of need to move forward with a cost and feasibility study to expand the current police space into the attached board of education area. The council sent the statement for the Berlin police facility as a whole to the public building commission for review.
The previous council voted in 2016 against sending a plan for a new station on Farmington Avenue to referendum.
The police chief and members of the police commission have since expressed the need for updates.
“They need to make a decision,” said Bob Peters, chair of the police commission.
Kaczynski said funds will be discussed at the meeting as the new jail cells are estimated to cost $250,000, in collaboration with partner communities that are looking to update cells as well. Funding is currently in the police budget from other capital projects.
The meeting is expected to be Thursday, March 29. More information will be available on the town website soon.