Public tours scheduled for Piscataquis Sheriff’s Department office space

DOVER-FOXCROFT – Members of the public are invited to tour the existing Piscataquis County Sheriff’s department office space later this month in advance of the Nov. 3 county bond referendum vote to finance the construction of a new Sheriff’s office building.


Guided tours of the Sheriff’s office space on Court Street are planned for Monday, Oct. 19, from 4-7 p.m.; and on Wednesdays, Oct. 21 and 28, from 1-4 p.m. Members of the public who cannot attend on those dates are welcome to visit the building any time during regular office hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Piscataquis County Commissioners have scheduled the county referendum vote on Nov. 3 to seek voter approval to issue general obligation bonds for $610,000 in order to construct a new Sheriff’s office building on county land at the corner of East Main Street and School Street in Dover-Foxcroft. Those funds would be borrowed at an estimated interest rate of 3%, and the project would be paid off over a 10-year term at an annual cost of approximately $71,500 in principal and interest, starting in 2017.

Piscataquis County government currently has no long-term debt. With a current county budget of around $4 million, the cost of the Sheriff’s office building project would increase county expenditures by 1.8% annually over the 10-year term of the bond issue.

The guided tours on Oct. 19, 21 and 28 are intended to demonstrate the pressing need for a new building by showing the public the many deficiencies in the existing office space, which was constructed in 1886 as part of the old county jail and originally used as living quarters for the family of the Piscataquis County Sheriff. When the new county jail was constructed in 1987, the former apartment became office space for the patrol and investigative division of the Sheriff’s Department.

The proposed building project would relocate the eight employees in administration and the patrol and investigative division to a new office building. Corrections officers and dispatchers in the jail and telecommunications divisions of the Sheriff’s Department would continue to be located in the Piscataquis County Jail on Court Street.

“The existing, two-story Sheriff’s Office building was never designed to serve as offices, and this antiquated space does not allow for efficient operations of a modern law enforcement agency,” said Tom Lizotte, Piscataquis County Manager. “The structure is a rabbit warren of cramped rooms, narrow hallways and steep staircases, and has multiple building and fire code compliance issues.”

The existing Sheriff’s Office has insufficient room for employee work stations, no private interview rooms, no conference room space, and a severe shortage of storage space for evidence, supplies, gear and uniforms.

The proposed new office at the corner of East Main and School Streets would be a single-story building on a concrete insulated slab, with 2,900 square feet of office space and a two-bay garage. In order to reduce construction costs, the County will partner with the public restitution program at the Charleston Correctional Facility to provide labor for carpentry on the exterior shell, roof system and interior partitions. Local, private contractors and businesses would be engaged for site preparation, foundation, materials supply, sheetrock, plumbing, heating, ventilation and electrical work.

If the bond issue is approved by voters on Nov. 3, Piscataquis County would plan to begin contruction on the project in spring, 2016.