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County Offers to Fill in For Kennebunkport Police During Bush Visits

July 26, 1989

ALFRED, Maine (AP) _ York County officials say they will provide security assistance for presidential visits to Kennebunkport, following the town’s decision that police protection cost too much.

″This commission was most concerned and distressed by the decision of Kennebunkport municipal officials to discontinue providing security assistance″ for visits by George Bush to his coastal vacation home, the three county commissioners wrote.

The commissioners told Secret Service Director John Simpson that ″we have directed the York County Sheriff’s Department to provide continuing security services as may be necessary and requested.″

Last week, in ″the most difficult letter I have ever written,″ Kennebunkport Town Manager Jane Duncan informed the White House that town police would no longer be available for traffic control and similar duties assisting the Secret Service and state police.

″This difficult decision was made solely on the basis of our budgetary limitations,″ she said. Officials had said the special security details were costing about $1,500 a day.

The county commissioners voted unanimously Monday to pick up the local duties. Their letter to Simpson was mailed Tuesday, said County Administrator David Adjutant.

″While we too as elected and responsible officials have financial concerns, we are committed that the security of the most powerful man in the world be given priority over monetary issues,″ the commissioners wrote.

The commissioners also told Simpson the county would be ″most appreciative of any reimbursement.″

Adjutant said the county had already spent $4,800 as part of its participation in cooperative policing efforts for presidential visits. He declined to project how much more the county might have to spend.

The president was last in Kennebunkport for an extended Fourth of July weekend. He plans a three-week visit next month.

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