LOVELL – Voters at Saturday’s town meeting elected 10 officers and approved a 5.8 percent salary increase for town employees.

Robert Drew was re-elected selectman/assessor, and Janice Arsenault was re-elected as tax collector. Larry Fox beat out Tom Hodsdon by a vote of 90-34 for public works director.

David Stearns beat out Bryan Malloy in a 67-20 vote for a five-year term on the Planning Board. Malloy was then elected an associate member of the Planning Board in a 45-32 vote over Lou Olmstead. Joel Hardman ran unopposed for the second associate position on the Planning Board.

Ron McAllister was elected building inspector. Bob Steller was elected to the Budget Committee along with incumbent Mike Welch.

SAD 72 incumbent John Carter was re-elected along with alternate Martha Armington.

Voters approved a 5.8 percent salary increase for town employees that tax collector Janice Arsenault said was a cost-of-living increase. Last year, voters OK’d a 3 percent increase.

A request for $45,000 to pay for the Greater Lovell Land Trust’s purchase of 198 acres of conservation land at Route 5 and Old Country Road to add on to the 603-acre Head and Bradley Ponds Reserve was turned down in a 58 to 30 vote. Selectmen had recommended the article be turned down.

Voters also OK’d taking $115,315 from a surplus account to cover overdrafts from fiscal 2008. A total of $111,287 of that was incurred in the winter roads account and maintenance for repairs of roads and bridges account.

A total of 124 voters handled the 97-article warrant in about two hours.

Stoneham re-elects Jones

In nearby Stoneham, annual town meeting voters re-elected Kara Jones to the Board of Selectmen and elected Ron Rovzar to fill a one-year vacancy created by the resignation of Selectman John Collins. Collins, who has served on the board for five years, is moving to Florida.

Frank Robie was elected to serve as assistant fire chief.

About 40 to 45 people turned out to dispose of the 56-article warrant in about two hours.

“It was all pretty cut and dried,” Selectman Neal Littlefield said. Most of the articles passed easily except for a request for $15,000 for playground equipment, he said.

“That was a surprising one,” Littlefield said of the 14-12 vote not to approve the $15,000. “I thought it would pass.”

Littlefield said the town has land near the fire station that residents hoped to build a playground on, but a slim majority of voters said they would rather have the funds donated rather than put on the town budget. Littlefield said he believes the intent is to raise as much money as possible through fundraising events and donations, and then perhaps come back to town meeting if more money is needed.

Voters also approved carrying over $25,000 to pay for a property revaluation but agreed that no more money should be raised this year for it.

Former selectmen’s Chairman John Collins said last week that efforts to secure a firm to do the revaluation have been difficult, and cost estimates have been between $50,000 and $100,000.

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