BETHEL — A 10% increase with no additional services was a sticking point for the Bethel Select Board during a discussion of the still unresolved contract with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office.

Select board Chair Meryl Kelly said the Oxford County administrator told her that the increases would ultimately rise to 30% over time.

“To make up for years of not doing anything. They made that our problem,” said Vice Chair Michele Cole.

Kelly said there are no terms on the contract. Because the selectboard is constantly fluctuating, Kelly said it makes sense to revisit the contract at a set time and not just when there is a 10% increase. She would like to see terms listed on the contract.

“The staffing and lack of staffing is paramount,” said Frank Del Duca who, along with Town Manager Sharon Jackson, will represent Bethel at the table. “Are we picking up overtime [payment] because of the lack of staffing?” asked Del Duca.

Kelly said, paying for a full staff when they are understaffed, “is not quite fair … I don’t know if there is a way to negotiate that you pay for what you get.”


Member Pat McCartney said they should recruit more officers. She would like to see a breakdown of costs. The after-midnight calls she said are costing the town a lot of money for very little action.

Cole said she’d like to see better definitions on the contract to understand what they are paying for.

Kelly said she had an issue with the town paying for a percentage of the training and equipment. “They are not our staff, I don’t understand why we are paying for training them,” she said.

Not receiving a resolution or follow up call after an arrest or complaint, “I definitely think it’s a common thread for people in town,” said Kelly.

The October Oxford County Sheriff’s Report lists 98 entries. Deputies that responded to those calls were: Jeff Howe, Errol Andrews, Evan Rea, Dan Carrier, Justin Brown, Dennis Lowe, Matt McDonnell, and Don McCormick.

At the Bethel Town Meeting on June 14, Oxford County Sheriff Christopher Wainwright spoke and voters passed the recommended $431,404  Oxford County Sheriff Services (which also included Animal Control Services).

The board meeting discussion Nov. 15 was because Wainwright had requested a list of the board members’ issues before they scheduled a meeting with him.

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