In a unanimous vote, the Brunswick Town Council rescinded an ordinance passed last September to purchase land for a new Brunswick Police Department (BPD) station.

At a public hearing on Monday, residents voiced their dissatisfaction with the proposed purchase of a property at the corner of Stanwood and Pleasant Streets, identified as a potential location for a new BPD station. Upwards of 40 town residents attended the hearing.

After the hearing, Council Chairwoman Joanne King acknowledged the flaws of the Council's original 8-1 decision to implement the ordinance. "We made a couple mistakes," King said.

Council member Suzan Wilson agreed, stating that the council was "taking a mulligan" on the issue.

A petition to block the ordinance garnered over 800 signatures and prompted the hearing, of which the prime objective was to determine whether the council would rescind the ordinance or submit it to a referendum vote.

In an earlier interview with the Orient, Town Councilmember Ben Tucker reported that he was "disappointed" that the petition would delay progress. After hearing the complaints of his constituents, he motioned to repeal the ordinance, a motion that found unanimous support among his fellow council members.

The vote was a less than attractive option for many of those who spoke at the hearing, due to the fact that facilitating such a vote could cost the town even more.

"This vote would cost taxpayers over $5,000," said Brunswick resident Judy Gorby.

Indeed, the tough economic times were a common thread in much of the testimony at the hearing. Brunswick resident Kate Maringer pleaded with the council to consider the cost of the venture.

"People are hurting," Maringer said. "We're as frugally as we can just to put food on the table and gas in our cars."

Jennifer Johnson echoed this sentiment, calling the ordinance "bad business" and telling council members, "you don't put the cost on the townspeople...balance the checkbook first."

Many pointed to the recent closing of the Naval Air Station Brunswick as a source of further strain on the community and others were concerned about what they perceived as a lack of "transparency" in the proceedings.

John Donovan of McKeen St. advocated the creation of a committee of citizens and council members to address the problem of where to put the police station, stating, "the public needs to be a part of this."

Real estate developer and Brunswick resident Kevin Bunker urged the council to consider the commercial possibilities of the four proposed properties at Stanwood and Pleasant streets.

"Stanwood and Pleasant is something that could benefit the town in the future," Bunker said. "If it's a police station, that's all it's ever going to be—no tax revenue."

Bunker continued by voicing his support for a committee and volunteering his services if the council chose to follow though with that option.

"I'm sure there are other citizens that would love to help out too," he added.

Though most residents spoke out against the ordinance, resident Greg Kelly pledged his support for the land buy, calling the current police station "disgraceful" and "a dreadful, crowded basement."

Indeed, almost all those who spoke—even those who were most passionately against the proposed Stanwood and Pleasant location—recognized the need for a new BPD facility.

"The ultimate goal—that seems to be the only unanimous thing—is that we want a new police station," King said. "I think we can come back with another solution that people can buy into."

The council also expressed support for citizen participation in a committee to explore other possibilities for a new BPD station.