04/09/2009

By Kara Herlihy

One hundred ten signatures have been gathered and a petition was submitted calling for a revote on Article 19, which was previously approved by Fayston voters on Town Meeting Day, March 3.

The article, which was passed by only five paper votes (59-54), authorized the town to spend an amount not to exceed $8,000 to join other Valley towns in contracting law enforcement services from the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Fayston Select Board members will discuss the petition and set a date for the revote at their regularly scheduled meeting Monday, April 13, at 6:30 p.m. The town has 60 days to hold a revote following the receipt of a petition.
 
FOUR TOWNS

Fayston is the last of the four Valley towns to contract law enforcement services from the Washington County Sheriff's Department. Residents passed the article following a lengthy and impassioned discussion about funding.

Washington County Sheriffs Sam Hill and Bret Meyer along with Washington County Deputy Sheriff Peter Laskowski and Fayston First Constable Ray Munn discussed options for police coverage with members of the Fayston Select Board at their March 23 meeting.

Hill and Meyer requested input from town officials regarding the type of police coverage and patrol schedule they feel is most appropriate for Fayston. Select board member Ed Read relayed that, "People are still confused about what your coverage entails."

AREAS OF CONCERN

The town would have the opportunity to identify "areas of concern," according to Hill, including specific roads and times of day. The Sheriff's Department serves as first responders, Hill added, and "has a good working relationship with the Vermont State Troopers," he said.

Patrol would likely focus on problem areas identified by the town, and a portion of the funding allocated for their services would be reserved for unanticipated costs such as court fees and overtime expenses.

In 2004, Moretown became the third Valley town to contract law enforcement services from the Washington County Sheriff's Department. Their initial authorization cost the town $8,500 for patrol. The figure was increased to $10,000 the following year and has remained steady in the years since.

Warren and Waitsfield both allocate significantly higher funding in their town budgets, while the money is offset by revenues paid back to the town from traffic tickets. This year, the total program cost in Waitsfield is $42,262. The town anticipates $26,310 in revenue for a net cost of $15,962. In Warren, the total program cost is $38,500 with $15,000 anticipated in revenue for a net cost of $23,500.

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