Freedom approves new public safety building



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Putting it to a vote FREEDOM MODERATOR DON JOHNSON accepts a ballot from Town Clerk Libby Priebe while Selectman Scott Cunningham looks on at Freedom Town Meeting on Tuesday. Freedom voters cast paper ballots on the $1.2 million Public Safety Building question at Town Meeting on Tuesday. That article passed as did a proposal to increase the Town Clerk position from six hours a week to 32 hours with benefits. (Mellisa Ferland photo) (click for larger version)
March 10, 2011
FREEDOM — "We're going to throw it into high gear and start getting bids," said Freedom Selectman Les Babb when asked what happens next following voters approval of a $1.2 million bond article at Tuesday's Town Meeting.

It took a couple of tries, but this year voters liked what they heard apparently and were ready to back adding on to the town's current fire station on Village Road to make it a public safety building that will include the police department. "I couldn't be happier," responded Police Chief Josh Shackford.

Because it was a bond article, two-thirds of the ballots cast (96) had to be in favor of the expense. The final tally was 118 yes votes and 26 no.

In related articles on the warrant, voters also approved purchasing .8 acres adjacent to increase the size of the project site. The fire department's second station, the small Village Mill Pond Station, will also be getting a facelift as voters approved $23,300 for the materials to repair this building that will be used for cold storage for extra equipment such as forestry vehicles and ATVs.

In another ballot vote at town meeting, voters approved increasing the town clerk's position to 32 hours and adding benefits including health insurance and retirement. Currently, the town clerk's office is open six hours a week and the present clerk Libby Priebe said she has always put in many more hours than that, unpaid, to get the work of the office accomplished. The vote was 95 yes to 34 no.

The town hall, another village building, will be getting a facelift and voters opted to paint the building rather than paint the front and install vinyl siding on the other three sides. Additionally, Peg Scully of the town's Heritage Commission said that building as well as the town office building are under application to be listed on the United States Registry of Historic Places that will hopefully open both to the possibility of grant funding in the future for more improvements.

In the end, voters approved all 28 warrant articles including the $2 million operating budget that keeps the town's business functioning for another year.

Election results

Voters approved all six zoning amendments on Tuesday's ballot including the establishment of a groundwater protection ordinance on a vote of 279 to 89.

The only contested race on the town's ballot was for trustee of trust funds. Eric Bossidy barely squeaked by James Blake and was elected on a vote of 174-164.

Leslie Babb was re-elected to the selectman's seat that he has held for nine years. Annette Babb will continue as tax collector. Carol Stansell was elected as checklist supervisor, Doris Sirois as trustee of trust funds, Dean Robertson received 42 write-in votes for the cemetery trustee position, Ernest Day was elected to planning board and Thomas Luke as library trustee.

On the school ballot, Donald Johnson was elected moderator, Michael Gaudette as auditor, Diane Park as clerk and Todd DesMarais beat out incumbent Ingrid DeWitt for the school board position on a vote of 236-106.

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