Packed hall tends to business
by Trisha Ingalls
WESTMORE — Bear hugs and baked goods ushered in a snowy and packed Town Meeting at the Fellowship Hall in Westmore Tuesday morning.
Longtime moderator Andy Berley resumed his habitual role, and after the Pledge of Allegiance was recited and a moment of silence observed for Westmore residents who died during the past year, he got down to business.
Current town clerk Elaine Cashin was the only person nominated to fill that role for another two-year term, and there was applause when she cast her ballot. The only contested race, voted on by paper ballot, was for one select board seat that has been held by Peter Hyslop. Both Mr. Hyslop and Isaiah Casey were nominated for the seat.
In his remarks, Mr. Casey said he is a lifelong Westmore resident and wants to represent the people. He works at Newport Town School and runs a small beef farm. He said he is from a younger generation, and not many people his age run for select board.
Mr. Hyslop said he was elected five years ago and has been humbled by the amount of training needed to be a select board member. He has met with many residents to hear and address their concerns, and he said he believes in strong communication and working together. After the vote by paper ballot, Mr. Hyslop easily kept his seat with 42 votes compared to 20 votes for Mr. Casey.
The general fund budget for 2023 of $331,193 was passed without incident. During discussion of the highway fund budget, Westmore resident Donna Dzugas asked whether the proposed $309,796 included a $50,000 downpayment for a new town truck. Mr. Hyslop said that money was in the town equipment fund already approved in the general fund budget.
Ms. Dzugas asked whether the purchase of the truck would be discussed at Town Meeting, but Mr. Hyslop said there is no commitment yet to buy the truck and it would be discussed at future regular select board meetings.
Westmore residents voted to add $10,000 to the lister reappraisal and map reserve fund. Maree Bushey, the town lister, said Westmore is due for a reappraisal soon, which can cost up to $100 per property, and she didn’t want the town to come up short for that expense.
During the appropriation of $14,497 to the milfoil program fund, Bruce Tanner from the Westmore Association talked about the progress being made to combat milfoil on Lake Willoughby, and also said the Department of Environmental Conservation is still accepting written comments from concerned citizens interested in banning wake boats on the lake.
The meeting wound to a close, and Mr. Berley banged his gavel to move from business to lunch.