STAMFORD -- At its 261st annual town meeting, Stamford voters decided against a $200,000 road paving project and a proposal to increasing police patrolling hours, and decided to borrow money from town funds to reduce the interest payments on a municipal fire truck. With no spending increases approved at either Monday night's town meeting or the school district meeting that followed, action taken leaves the property tax rate relatively "flat," according to town treasurer David Fierro Jr.

The tax rate could still change as a result of state assessments, he said, but the town and school spending budgets reflect no increase. The most debated question at the town meeting revolved around a proposal to pave a half-mile portion of Lesure Road, a dirt and gravel byway that, residents said, becomes hazardous with rain or snow events, sometimes leaving the road impassable.

Some residents said it was too much money to spend on a road where only "a handful" of people live. Others noted that there have been more homes built on Lesure Road in recent years, and more will likely be built in the coming years, making it a safety question with the potential for more traffic. The proposal fell, with 79 voting against and 15 voting in favor.

Another proposal that was turned down was a request to spend another $10,000 in the coming year for an additional eight hours of patrol time from the Bennington County Sheriff's Department, bringing the total patrol time up to 30 hours per week from 22 hours.


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Several residents expressed disappointment with the sheriff's department because when some call the sheriff for help, they have been directed to call the Vermont State Police instead.

A selectman noted that state police have jurisdiction if the call is made during hours the sheriff is not patrolling Stamford.

Voters also endorsed a proposal made by town officials to borrow money from the town's invested funds account to pay off the loan on the fire department's tanker truck, and save the interest fees associated with the remaining four years of payments.

Voters authorized the town to spend a total of $631,253 on town business for the coming fiscal year.