Town Meeting

Lowell Town Meeting

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Sheriff’s Department again draws discussion

by Sam Thurston and Marjorie Kramer

LOWELL — There were no town offices where votes were needed to decide the issue but that didn’t mean there was no discussion on other matters.

In the Lowell School District part of Town Meeting first Alden Warner was elected moderator, then David Legacy was named a Lowell School Director and finally Shannon Sinclair the union school director.  The budgets were all passed by voice vote after the Tax Stabilization Fund was explained by school board Chair Steve Mason.

In the town part of the Town Meeting Mr. Warner was again elected moderator.  Darren Pion was reelected to the select board, Ashley Callahan was chosen as first constable, Chris Pion second constable (he was not in attendance and could still decline).  For library trustees Carol Koob, Katherine Pion, Brandy Cochran and Jenn Higgins all accepted posts unopposed and Cheryl Clarke, who many residents knew from her service in the town post office, became the new lister, replacing Lerry Chase who resigned.

People found fault with the treasurer’s report for technicalities of presentation.  The treasurer, Rebecca DiZazzo, who is appointed, said she thought people should understand the difficulties of her job.  Lowell resident Arlon Warner thought Ms. DiZazzo is doing a splendid job but the town hourly rate should be raised to attract more help in the office.

People also found fault with the look of the town report, in that it used too many graphics.  One resident counted 22 pages that could have been eliminated, thereby saving some money. Town Clerk Christy Pion defended the report’s look.  A vote was taken and the town sided with the creators of the report.

Republican State Representative Mark Higley, a Lowell resident, who is on the Government Operations and the Military Affairs committee gave a report on his doings.  He said he is against S.5, the Affordable Heat Act, noting estimates of increases in heating costs.  He also has an interest in the Cannabis Control Board and the sports betting bill.

Whether to fund the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department has been an issue for many years in Lowell.  Last year, at first, funding was denied, then, after a special town meeting it was funded. For six or seven years previous to that funding was denied.  Before that funding was given, but not without discussion.  Why do many residents not want sheriff protection?

“Just a waste of our money,” took too long to respond, questions whether they were on duty as much as they said.

Sheriff’s Department Officer Richard Wells defended the department.  Time spent during the day is well recorded, he said, so people can check. If you need to report a situation call (802) 334-3333.  If there are no calls there will be no response.  Deputy Wells also noted staffing is getting better and in order to give speeding tickets other than on Route 100 and 58 the town has to list the speed limits, something they are in discussion with the select board about.

In the end, the requested funding of $12,064 for 192 hours of routine patrols plus answering complaints, investigating incidents and administrative expenses passed with 46 in favor and 25 against.

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