Whether Washington will hire a town administrator is a question that will wait for next year.

At Saturday’s Town Meeting, voters opted not to approve a measure that would create the part-time position and fund it at $28,000 by taking $5,000 each from the selectmen’s pay and $13,000 from property tax for the upcoming budget year. Instead, a government advisory committee will be appointed to consider whether the town of about 1,500 needs an administrator.

The meeting, which spanned about four hours, drew as many as 90 residents at its height.

Wesley Daniel, chairman of the town’s board of selectmen, said several people have told him Saturday’s Town Meeting was one of the best they had been to.

“Everything wasn’t rubber stamped,” Daniel said. Instead, residents asked questions and discussed the proposals on the warrant.

In all, selectmen had sought approval from voters to spend $678,805 in the coming year, and they received it.

The selectmen had sought $125,000 to repair and repave Hopkins Road between Routes 17 and 126.

“Some people got to arguing because they wanted to take it out of asphalt and put the road back into dirt,” Selectman Berkley Linscott said, but because it’s a state-aid road, it could not be downgraded, and the funding was approved.

Linscott said he believed some residents think people drive too fast on the road and making it a dirt road might slow them down.

Voters also approved the funding requested for a new pumper truck for the Washington Fire Department. The request was for no more than $325,000. The next step, Daniel said, is to develop the specifications for the vehicle that will replace the 1982 model the fire department currently uses.

Town residents took no action on expanding the boat launch just off Route 105 on the southern end of Washington Pond.

“It was developed as a hand-carry,” Daniel said. The launch can accommodate boats that can be put in the water by hand — canoes and kayaks, for instance. Larger boats that require trailers aren’t allowed, he said, in part because parking is limited.

Daniel said the town has been told that the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife won’t restock the pond unless a boat ramp is expanded to handle trailered boats. “Ten years ago, the Department of Conservation sent me a letter saying we were within our rights to keep the ramp that and they would buy another piece of land on the lake,” he said.

The vote was to rescind the carriage specification, he said. “No one told the selectmen that it’s OK,” Daniel said.

In Washington, the municipal election takes place the day before Town Meeting.

Daniel, who has served on the board of selectmen for 18 years, defeated challenger Roy Garnett and will continue to serve.

Selectman Duane Vigue, who resigned from the board Saturday, will be replaced by Thomas Johnston, who ran against Christopher Armstrong to fill the last year of Vigue’s term.

When the selectmen meet Wednesday at the Town Hall at 40 Old Union Road, they will elect a chairman for the coming year.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ


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