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Ex-Road Foreman Narrowly Loses Selectboard Campaign in Thetford

Thetford — A write-in Selectboard campaign by former road foreman Doug Stone was defeated by a single vote yesterday, with Selectman Mike Pomeroy fending off the challenge, 272-271.

Pomeroy said last night that he had heard about the write-in campaign, but had “no idea” why he was challenged by Stone, who unexpectedly resigned from his former post in late May after holding the position since 2004.

After Stone’s departure, the town revamped the former Highway Department into a new Public Works Department, a shift that allowed the department to handle tasks outside of the old Highway Department’s authority. The transition was also marked by the hiring of Public Works Director Scott Knowlton and the elevation of two lower-level employees to higher-pay positions tasked with greater responsibilities.

As for Stone, he said last night that he had not yet decided whether he would seek a recount.

“The people that are counting the votes in there are pretty competent, so I’m fairly confident that they handled it right,” he said.

Stone said he ran because he “wasn’t happy with the way the Selectboard has been running things,” and that he targeted Pomeroy’s two-year seat because the selectman was running uncontested.

Thetford voters also approved the $7.9 million school budget yesterday by a vote of 401-199 and elected Stuart Rogers to the Selectboard for a three-year term by a vote of 437-88. Rogers, a Thetford resident of 32 years who is best known around town as the animal control officer, was running against Theresa Davidonis, a longtime Thetford resident and the girlfriend of Macadam Mason, the Thetford man who died last summer after being shot in the chest with a Taser by a Vermont State Police trooper.

The school budget was up 4 percent from last year, but the school tax rate will remain at $1.71 per $100 of assessed value thanks to a higher common level of appraisal from the state. Owners of a home assessed at $250,000 would continue to pay $4,275 for the school portion of property taxes, though many Vermonters pay school taxes based on income. Residents approved the $1 million general fund budget at Town Meeting on Saturday.

Voters yesterday also approved the transfer of a total of $90,000 in surplus money into two separate school reserve funds to be used for unexpected cost increases.

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