Derry Policing Committee asks to disband; Select Board to seek restitution in mural destruction

Board member George Mora, instead of the Policing Committee, will look into speed limit and sign issues. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
©2017 Telegraph Publishing

In a move that surprised the Londonderry Select Board on Monday night, Oct. 16, the Policing Committee sent a letter announcing that it is seeking board permission to disband instead of taking on the more tasks, including of looking at speed limits, speed ordinances and safety signs in town.

Policing Committee chair Peter Pagnucco who wrote the committee believes that its original mission, dating to 2015, of developing a policing plan for Londonderry has been implemented and recommended that the 25-hour a week contract with the Vermont State Police continue.

Board member George Mora then volunteered to look into the issues of speed limits and safety signs.  Resident Dick Dale suggested that traffic safety has generated a lot of interest on the Londonderry Community Forum and setting up a committee might be a good idea. Mora agreed to the idea of leading a citizens’ committee. Board chair Paul Gordon asked her to come up with a proposal by the next board meeting. And while the board acknowledged the letter from the Policing Committee, it did not vote on the request.

Artist Garrison Buxton, lower left, said he would like the board to set the tone in the Ed Brown vandalism case.

Board to seek restitution
in mural case

In response to news that Mill Tavern owner Ed Brown has been arrested and charged with unlawful mischief, a felony after he painted over a mural on Route 11 that had been designed by Flood Brook School children, Gordon wrote a letter to the board asking that it take a stand.

“I would like your permission to represent the town as your Select Board chairman and seek restitution to have the wall repainted and dismissal or lessening of the criminal charges,”  he said.

Robert Nied is introduced as the new Town and Zoning Administrator.

The board was unanimous in agreeing that a felony charge and, if convicted, a possible fine and prison time, seemed excessive.  Garrison Buxton, who painted the wall based on art work submitted by the students, said that Select Board and the state set a precedent for what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior.

Mora agreed that “there need to be consequences,” but said she would not like Brown to spend time in jail.  Gordon will represent the town as the victim at the hearing in Superior Court on Nov. 7 and ask for restitution as opposed to felony criminal charges against Brown.

New Town Administrator introduced

Gordon introduced Robert Nied as the new town Zoning Administrator and Town Administrator. Gordon said Nied is in the process of moving from Upstate New York after buying a house in Chester and will start a full 35 hour a week schedule in November.

Kristin Mehalick of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corp.

Representatives of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corp. and Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies told the board about several initiatives to help local businesses grow,  as well as introducing high school and college students to career opportunities and internships.

Kristin Mehalick said SeVEDS is seeking from the town $3 per resident, or about $5,100 for Londonderry’s 1,700 residents. At Town Meeting in March of 2015 an 2016, town voters turned down the financial request.  And in 2017, no request was made.

Responding to Mehalick’s question about how they should request funding, Gordon said the request  will be to likely put on the Town Meeting warning as a separate article instead of forcing a petition or being added to the town budget.

  • Transfer station liaison Tom Cavanagh said the backhoe is starting to show its age of 20 years. He said it will soon need new tires at a cost of $5,000 and a new fuse box for another $5,000 as well as other work, and suggested that it was time to begin talking about buying a new backhoe in the next year or two.
  • Gordon said that “despite our best efforts” ground has still not been broken on the new salt and sand shed. He said the contractor has been busy with an existing job. But the project has also been delayed for weeks over questions about the contract, which have since been resolved. Gordon asked Ameden and Road Foreman Mathew Rawson to work on a Plan B, which would be “borrowing or buying salt from neighboring towns or perhaps the state.” Ameden said Rawson talked with representative of AOT who will ask his superiors whether he can sell or loan the town salt.
  • Gordon said the town Beautification Committee will meet with members of the After the Flood group on Nov. 1 at 4:30 to update plans for the Genser property, now that the building pavement have been removed and the property seeded with grass.
  • And Chris Blackey represented the Champion Fire Company and the First Baptist Church to request that Main Street be closed between the bridge and Old School Street from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31 for a Haunted Fire House and the Trunk or Treat Halloween event at 5 p.m. The event attracted about 600 people last year. His request was granted without a formal vote.
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