LISBON — Two residents urged a return to the Town Council’s former meeting rules Tuesday night to allow more participation by the public.

“Will the new town council continue to restrict free speech?” resident Larry Fillmore asked, referring to newly elected council members Christopher Brunelle and Eric Metivier and newly elected Council Chairwoman Lisa Ward.

Brunelle and Metivier replaced former council Chairman Fern Larochelle and former Councilor Gina Mason.

Fillmore said citizens should not be restricted to making comments only during the “Audience Participation” agenda item, which is held at the beginning of meetings. He added that people should be allowed to provide input on issues as they come up during the meeting and should also be allowed to raise new issues, not just those issues on the agenda.

“We will maintain these rules unless the council decides they are going against what we are trying to accomplish,” Ward responded. “We need to have time to cover material, and the time to make decisions. If citizens want an item put on the agenda, they can do that, but not 20 minutes before the meeting.

“I think we are sensitive to what you are telling us,” she added. “It is not falling on deaf ears.” 


Councilor Gregg Garrison said he is considering amending the rules, but he is not ready to bring the proposed changes forward until the next council meeting.

Councilor Roger Bickford, recently elected for another three-year term, hinted that he will be proposing a change, but he did not give any details.

“There’s going to be something on the June ballot,” he said, directing his comment to Roger Cote, who also urged a return to the council’s former rules.

“I hope it will work for you,” Bickford said. “We want to try to get there without a rewrite of the Charter.”

Cote responded, “It’s not what I want; it’s what the people of the town of Lisbon want.”

Councilor Dillon Pesce, who was elected vice chairman of the board during the meeting, urged people to call or email him.


“My phone number and email address are on the town website,” he said. “If you’ve got any questions, let me know. We have to move forward as a town. We all have to work together.”

Metivier echoed Pesce’s remarks, saying, “I’m looking forward to doing what the people want. If you have any questions, please contact me. I’ll see what I can do.”

In addition to swearing in the newly elected council members and electing Ward chairman, the council elected Pesce vice chairman in a 4-to-3 secret ballot vote. The other nominee was Councilor Mark Lunt.

Town Manager Steve Eldridge presented the town and school capital-improvement budget to the council covering the next five years. Any item costing more than $10,000 or any item that must be bonded over a period of years was included.

The council will vote on the budget Feb. 18, after which time a public hearing will be held. According to the town charter, the budget must be adopted by March 1.

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