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Berlin residents vote down new police HQ, Bridgewater residents vote in ‘dry’ town

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BERLIN–Many communities throughout Connecticut not only elected political officials on Tuesday,  but were also asked to take a position on issues that would affect their communities only.

Voters in Berlin didn’t approve the town’s ballot referendum to spend $21 million in order to build a new police station. Not counting voters who registered today and absentee ballots, 2,963 voted in favor of the new complex while 4,838 voted against it. Since the votes not counted only amount to 400 to 500, it’s not enough to change the result.

Chief Paul Fitzgerald has said the current building is too small for the current force and in disrepair. The old facility was built in 1972 when there were 14 officers. Today there are more than 40.

Last month, residents were invited to tour the current facility. “It’s not like they want to buy tanks and everything else like that, they just need a working area,” said Gary Malone, who also said the tour convinced him to vote in favor of the revamp.

Berlin’s voters demonstrated it was an important issue to them. By noon the registrar of voters office had to order and deliver more ballots to each of the polling precincts.

The Berlin Property Owner’s Association said $21 million is too much money and instead suggests downsizing the force and getting rid of some of the SWAT-style equipment. “This is a peaceful community of families, this is not a battleground,” said William Brighenti.

In Bridgewater, which was Connecticut’s last “dry” community, voters decided to end Prohibition and allow restaurants to begin serving alcohol. First Selectmen Curt Read said earlier in the day he would have a bottle of champagne on hand in case the measure passed.

The town has about 1,700 residents; 608 voted in favor of ending the dry spell, while 226 were opposed. The town hasn’t allowed the consumption of alcohol since the original Prohibition in the early 20th century.

Meanwhile, in Waterbury, voters were asked to vote yay or nay on the issue of extending the term of elected officials, including the mayor, from two years to four years. Most voters Fox CT spoke with were in favor of thi,s saying two years is not enough time to establish one’s policies and practices.

Related Stories:

Berlin police chief pushes for new department building

Meeting to Discuss Proposal For New Berlin Police Station

New Berlin Police Department Facing Criticism

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