Town hall bond fails for third time
By Lucia Suarez
STAFF WRITER | March 06,2013
Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
John Hale campaigning outside Castleton State College's Fine Arts Center Tuesday. Hale was running for a seat on the selectboard. 03/05/13
CASTLETON — For the third time in a year, an effort to move forward on the town hall issue in Castleton failed.
Voters took a stand Tuesday, voting down a $1.05 million bond that would have constructed a 4,500-square-foot, single-story town office building along Route 30. The final tally had 652 voting against the bond and 363 voting in favor.
This was the town’s third vote on the town office issue. A year ago, voters overwhelmingly rejected a $2 million bond to construct a new office and fire department building along Route 4A. In November, a split vote killed a proposal to renovate the town office building on Main Street. That plan included a $240,000 grant from the Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation.
Castleton Select Board Chairman Thomas Ettori said Tuesday after learning of the results that the new board will need to meet and discuss what the next steps will be. He said he could not speak for the rest of the board, but in his own opinion, he believes they will need to figure out a sound price for the renovation of the old town office located at 556 Main St.
Ettori said this issue has been the topic of discussion in town for two years and people in town have had enough.
“I can’t say that I am happy and I can’t say that I am sad (about the results),” Ettori said. “Hopefully, once and for all we will resolve this.”
In the election of town officials, Castleton’s Select Board was shifted after the results were confirmed.
Newcomer John Hale, with 382 votes, beat out incumbent Patricia Graziano, with 338 votes, and former Selectman Patrick Eagan, with 232 votes, for a three-year seat on the board.
Incumbent Edward O’Shea, with 460 votes, led a very tight race for two, one-year seats on the Select Board, followed by newcomer Wenger Rehlen, with 457 votes. Rehlen unseated incumbent James Leamy, who had 451 votes, and beat challenger and School Board member Thomas Kearns, with 406 votes.
Throughout the day, candidates stood outside the Castleton State College fine arts theater chatting up voters and urging their support before casting their votes.
Eagan, who started standing outside the polling center when it opened at 8 a.m. and only took a 30-minute break to get a sandwich around lunchtime, said the stream of people was pretty consistent throughout, but he was not sure who was voting and who was a student at the time.
Town Clerk Katy Thornblade also said the stream of voters was pretty consistent throughout the morning. At halfway through the day, she said she could not compare the numbers to last year’s elections because it was a presidential primary year, but expected numbers to be higher than usual because of the bond.
“It feels as busy (but) it’s really hard to say,” said Thornblade, while watching voters enter the polling station.
Elsewhere, all money matters on the ballot, including the town and school budgets, were approved by voters. The Castleton/Hubbardton Union School District budget of $5,856,264 was approved by a 686 to 435 vote.