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Charlestown: Selectwoman Ferland Holds Onto Seat

— Former Selectboard Chairman Doug Ring, who is being sued by the town, won’t be getting his seat back any time soon.

Ring yesterday lost to 13-year Selectboard incumbent Brenda Ferland, who won 388 votes in a bid for a three-year term. Raymond Buisson, who was also seeking the three-year seat, received 134 votes, and Ring got 34.

“I think the people who were coming in to vote were paying attention,” Ferland said after the results were in.

The lawsuit, which is now in Claremont District Court, stems from January 2012, when the town gave Ring, owner of Ringscape Pool and Spas, a $6,600 deposit for a new pool cover and blower for the town’s outdoor pool, but he never ordered or delivered the cover, according to court documents.

As previously reported, Ring said if elected, he would “not take the position. I’ll be declining due to several circumstances, mainly my business being way too busy.”

Selectboard Chairman Steven Neill said there was a “light turnout” at yesterday’s polls, estimating 600 residents turned out by 5 p.m. Compared with previous years, Neill said, 800 or 900 voters would have voted by late afternoon.

Ferland attributed the decrease in voters to “nothing controversial going on, other than my race,” she said.

Voters also easily approved the $4.6 million municipal budget, which breaks down to a $3.74 million operating budget, $488,722 water budget and $326,586 sewer budget, by a 364-201vote.

The operating budget is up 2.6 percent from last year’s budget, which reflects higher legal costs, increases in state retirement system contributions, health insurance costs and additional money for health agencies and nonprofits, as well as the creation of a full-time assessing clerk position in town.

Residents also agreed to set aside $25,000 each in three capital reserve funds for property reappraisal, highway equipment and the library/municipal building.

A $20,000 measure to upgrade the heating system at Town Hall also passed.

Voters also agreed to support the lease/purchase of a new truck for the transfer station at a five-year annual payment of $29,400, as well as to lease/purchase a new ambulance at $25,600 annually for five years. The $175,195 ambulance will replace the 1994 ambulance and will have costs offset by the trade-in value of the existing ambulance and a $55,000 donation.

Douglas Neill was elected for a two-year term as cemetery trustee, defeating Aare Ilves, 313-223, in the only other contested race on the ballot.

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