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Charlestown Re-Elects Neill; Town Office Bond Fails

Charlestown — Steve Neill was re-elected to his sixth three-year term on the Selectboard, and voters overwhelmingly rejected a bond proposal for to pay for building an addition to the town offices in voting Tuesday.

All other articles on the warrant were approved, including the combined $4.7 million general fund and water and sewer budget.

The $450,000 bond article for the addition that would connect the Bakery Building with the nearby Silsby Library and house all town offices in one location, needed 60 percent approval but failed to crack even 30 percent, with 151 yes and 393 no.

Town Moderator Albert St. Pierre collected signatures to place the 20-year bond proposal on the warrant. He said the addition would improve safety, convenience and accessibility to the town offices.

The Selectboard opposed the plan, saying taxpayers could not afford it.

Voters approved granting the Heritage Commission approval to assume the duties of the Historic District Commission, 361-145, and the creation of a new zoning district, A-2, on North Main Street, 346-170, with the goal of trying to preserve the historic character of the area.

The Historic District Commission now has to draft a historic district ordinance with boundaries and other conditions and bring that back before voters to approve next March.

The new Jiffy Mart and the Sumner House are now part of the business zone of Main Street, instead of being in the mixed-use zone, with the approval of article 3, 308-210

Neill defeated challenger Jack Berquist, 314-236. In the only other contested race, Patricia Royce, 484, Eric Johnson, 375, and Hal Livingston, 308, won three-year seats on the Finance Committee with Thomas Minickiello receiving 238.

Voters also easily approved placing $25,000 each in reserve funds for real estate reappraisal, highway heavy equipment and Silsby Library/Community Room Masonry Restoration and Preservation project.

Article 4, approved 577-210, allows for existing signs that don’t conform to current regulations to be replaced or changed as long as the dimensions remain the same.

Voters also agreed to discontinue the highway advisory board, 267-224.

Turnout was about 20 percent, or 587 of the town 2,980 registered voters.

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