Departing town clerk honored
by Hannah Marvyl Pearce
ALBANY — The 67 voters who attended the Albany Town Meeting made quick work of their town’s business in just three hours on Tuesday. Gary Heath Mason, quickly re-elected as moderator, honored Debra Ann Geoffroy for her years of service as town clerk by presenting Ms. Geoffroy with a plaque, and leading voters to mark March 7, 2023, exactly 34 years after her first day on the job, as “Debbie Day.” Her election in 2022 will be the last time voters will elect a town clerk and treasurer, as they made the contentious decision in 2022 to allow the select board members to appoint people to fill those roles.
Brian Goodridge was re-elected to the select board for a term of three years. Mr. Goodridge was also voted in for a term of one year as road commissioner, a position the select board members have shared for many years. By electing an individual in the role, decisions will be able to be made more efficiently.
Ms. Geoffroy was voted into a one-year term as delinquent tax collector. Michele Reed will serve another three-year term as lister, H. Jane Rayner was re-elected as town auditor for a three-year term, and the select board will serve as first constable for a one-year term.
A general fund of $158,000 was approved, in addition to the $14,835 for appropriations as requested. The Albany Public Library will get $16,000. The same amount will go towards the maintenance of Albany’s six cemeteries and compensation for the town sexton, Richard Geoffroy, with an additional $5,000 for the ongoing repairs or cleaning of cemetery headstones. Ten thousand dollars will be raised for the maintenance and repair fund for town buildings. An amendment was made and approved to raise $5,000, doubling the proposed amount, to support the Albany Food Share site of the Hardwick Area Food Pantry. Over 300 Albany residences benefit from the weekly pickup and deliveries offered by a large team of volunteers.
A sum of $6,500 was approved to finance recycling, up from $5,000 in 2022. This increase reflects the increased cost of pickup for the recycled materials. There will be only one bulky day, on May 6, to reduce expenses. The costs of the recycling program and bulky day are matched fifty-fifty by the town of Irasburg, whose residents have equal access to the programs. Trash collection costs are maintained by trash service fees. Another $10,000 was approved to fund upgrades and repairs to the recycling building.
Voters approved an assessment of $15,138 to the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, $24,356.27 to the Orleans Emergency Unit, and $6,437.50 to the Glover Ambulance Squad. The Albany Municipal Volunteer Fire Department will receive $35,000 and $5,000 for its operating budget and vehicle replacement fund, respectively. The town will raise a sum of $400 to pay for the emergency management coordinator to attend trainings.
The town will raise $280,000 for the maintenance of Class 2 and 3 town roads. This sum increased from $250,000 in 2022. The difference is, in large part, due to the large increased costs of parts, fuel, gravel, and stone. The select board said it intends to use no more than $10,000 of this amount to purchase a vehicle for road crew use to avoid using their personal vehicles. In 2022, town workers put 8,600 miles on their own vehicles.
Twenty thousand dollars will be raised for the blacktop fund, and $10,000 will be raised for the summer maintenance of Class 4 roads, which is $5,000 less than 2022. The use of town roads by recreational vehicles was a large topic of discussion, with many residents expressing frustration and concern about the wear on the roads, speeding, and general disruption caused by these ATVs.
Select board member Phil Beaudry encouraged residents to request a discussion about the ATV traffic on town roads for an upcoming select board meeting agenda.