- Staff photo by Don Himsel
A voter leaves Campbell High School in Litchfield after voting Tuesday, March 13, 2012.
- Staff photo by Don Himsel
Sign holders cover up against Tuesday morning's rain outside of Campbell High School in Litchfield as they greet voters.
- Pat Jewett is running for Litchfield Board of Selectmen
- Bill Spencer is running for the Litchfield Budget Committee.
- Andrew Cutter is running for the Litchfield Budget Committee.
- Cynthia Couture is running for Litchfield Budget Committee.
- Dennis Miller is running for Litchfield School Board.
- Derek Barka is running for the Litchfield School Board.
Litchfield fire chief term approved, Jewett wins selectmen race
LITCHFIELD – Frank Fraitzl wasn’t on the ballot this week in Litchfield’s town election, but the newly appointed fire chief still earned a three-year term in office.
Residents – who last year elected to make the job an appointed position – voted Tuesday at Town Meeting to set the chief’s term at three years, by a vote of 1,079 to 436.
Voters neglected to set a term length last year when they agreed to give hiring authority to the town selectmen. Board members returned this year with an article proposing a three-year term.
The article passed, securing Fraitzl’s seat for at least the next three years.
Selectman Brent Lemire, who was also Litchfield’s fire chief for 16 years until 2001, said Fraitzl has the leadership skills for the position, and his roots trace back to the town. Fraitzl was one of Litchfield’s first two full-time firefighters.
“He’s familiar with the town and familiar with the personnel,” Lemire said. “He will be an asset to this community.”
However, not everyone was excited about the appointment.
Casey Jones, 62, voted against the three-year term and said voters lost control when the position changed to an appointed seat. She’d rather see Fraitzl in the position for one year and go from there.
In addition to the chief’s term, town voters had their say on a selectmen’s race, along with several other positional races in Tuesday’s election.
Residents chose M. Patricia Jewett from a field of four candidates to join the town Board of Selectmen. Jewett, a newcomer to the board, defeated Kevin Bourque, Nicholas D’Alleva and Christopher Schofield for a three-year term on the board.
Jewett received 730 votes. D’Alleva was the next highest vote-getter with 306.
Voters elected Bill Spencer to return to the Budget Committee for a three-year term and added newcomers Andrew Cutter (three-year term) and Cindy Couture (one-year term). Cutter beat Thomas Schofield, 943-421, while Couture won her seat with 750 votes to incumbent Timothy Finnegan’s 622.
Voters approved the town’s $4.96 million budget proposal, 1,080 to 453. The spending plan, to go into effect in July, will add about 44 cents to the tax rate, town officials said.
The budget is about $470,000, or 10 percent, higher than the current year. Most of those increases stem from prior votes raising the town’s fire hydrant fees, among other costs.
Voters approved spending $70,000 to replace the roof at the police station by a vote of 1,206 to 344, but they defeated an article to spend $4,759 for a part-time recreation coordinator, 1,048 votes to 503.
The town also addressed a number of non-spending proposals: creating a public works trust fund and approving a zoning article allowing for “accessory dwelling units” to be added to residential homes for family members or caregivers.
Voters also agreed to create a dedicated fund for public television fees.
Among other non-spending articles, voters denied a request to give the town Budget Committee authority to review the town’s default budget, which goes into effect if voters shoot down the operating budget proposal.
On the school side, voters denied a number of spending articles, including proposals to restore a part-time reading position at Campbell High School for $25,836. Voters also rejected upgrading the high school’s athletic training to full time for $33,799 and to provide a 1 percent cost-of-living increase to the district’s nonunion workers at a cost of $40,492.
They also defeated the School District’s $20.8 million operating budget proposal, which means the $20.7 million default budget will go into effect. The default budget is about 3.4 percent lower than the proposed budget.
In the district’s only contested position race, voters returned incumbent Dennis Miller to the School Board but also welcomed Derek Barka to his first three-year term.
Barka, 33, has lived seven years in Litchfield and received the most votes of any candidate, 986, en route to defeating incumbent Jason Guerrette and James Mavrogeorge, who received 570 and 472 votes respectively.
Jake Berry can be reached at 594-6402 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or email@example.com. Also check out Berry (@Telegraph_JakeB) and Kittle (@Telegraph_CamK) on Twitter.