TOWNSHEND -- Gun-toting residents no longer are welcome at Townshend’s Town Hall.
Selectboard members this week voted to ban firearms at all town buildings including the main offices, highway garage, library and fire station.
"We simply don’t want any firearms in here," board Chairwoman Hedy Harris said. "Authorized law enforcement officers will be the only exception."
Officials said they were not responding to any gun-related incidents. Instead, they characterized the move as precautionary.
"We’re trying to be a little bit proactive," Selectboard member Kit Martin said.
Board members briefly discussed expanding the policy further to include a ban on all potential weapons. But Harris wondered how such a rule would be enforced, adding that the town could end up with a metal detector and "the world’s biggest collection of pocketknives."
Instead, the four board members present voted unanimously to approve a specific firearm ban "in all municipal buildings and premises except by duly authorized law enforcement."
Town Administrative Assistant Craig Hunt said the policy would be posted for 30 days before taking effect.
In other business Monday, the board awarded a $5,400 contract to Donald Gould & Sons of Townshend to repair the town’s fire pond.
The pond, off Route 35, was damaged by Tropical Storm Irene’s flooding in late August and is the main source of water for
The repair contract includes excavation, tree removal and installation of a dry hydrant. Officials said Gould submitted the lowest of eight bids for the job.
In another Irene-related matter, the board voted to retain Brattleboro-based Stevens and Associates for engineering work on the washed-out East Hill Road.
Documents show the contract, which the board approved pending a review by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, totals $29,900.
There was discussion of whether the contract should be advertised for bidders since it exceeds $15,000. But Martin said the town, in the interest of getting the project moving, should waive that policy in this case.
"My stance is, time is of the essence here," Martin said.
Harris has said she hopes to see the road repaired soon, but there is no schedule for construction at this point.
There has been debate about whether usage of the road justified a repair job that is likely to be expensive. But Harris said the board dismissed any notion of abandoning the road.
"All of us felt like we really did" want to proceed with repairs, Harris said.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.