Minot officials reassess security at town buildings

Nov. 1—MINOT — In the wake of the mass shootings in Lewiston last week, local officials Monday revisited the issue of town building complex security.

At its regular Board of Selectmen meeting, members discussed the notion of updating security measures for the Town Hall building and other town facilities, including the Fire Department and highway garage that comprise the town campus, Town Administrator Danielle Loring said Monday.

Discussion ranged from installation of security cameras at the complex and thicker plexiglass at the clerks' counter to changing the floor plan in an effort to redirect the flow of foot traffic or prevent the flow of traffic in certain spaces in the building, she said.

"So, it was just discussion and making sure that we're doing everything we can to ensure the safety of both the public and staff," she said.

The recent shootings also pointed out the need for additional local emergency medical services workers.

The Minot Fire Department has five members in basic fire attack school who will be finishing up in two weeks, which will make them ready to be in the field as active firefighters, Loring said.

Four or five members had hoped to get schooling to become emergency medical technicians. The town had planned on using grant money to cover the cost at $2,200 per person. But that money was not available, so the town would have to pick up that cost, she said.

In addition, the scheduling of those classes has changed, making it more challenging for members to attend, requiring a higher level of commitment on the part of the member enrolling in that training, she said.

"What we're seeing as the fundamental problem for bringing on emergency technicians or even volunteer firefighters is that the standard had become so high for these positions, rightfully so, because it's in the medical field. But it's become so high, that it's more suited to a full-time job or a position versus someone who's volunteering during their open hours," Loring said.

"There's such a dire need out there, so we highly encourage anyone, especially in the wake of what has happened," in Lewiston last week, she said.

Selectmen agreed Monday to send a letter to the Regional School Unit 16 board of directors urging it to hold a public hearing before a December vote on what to do about needed upgrades to the heating and cooling systems at the three elementary schools in Minot, Mechanic Falls and Poland, Loring said.

Voters rejected in May a proposal for bonding that would have financed the upgrades.

Now, the two options facing town residents are whether to maintain all three schools and repair them all at a cost of more than $7 million or close the Minot Consolidated School, whose heating and cooling system repair is estimated to cost roughly $2 million, Loring said.

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