St. Albans city, town reach deal on shared police, water services

The Town and City of St. Albans have reached a long-term agreement over police and water services as part of a decades-long plan.
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 5:10 PM EST
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ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) - The Town and City of St. Albans have reached a long-term agreement over police and water services as part of a decades-long plan.

City leaders gathered Wednesday to sign what they call a historic 10-year agreement on a new police contract and the delivery of water services.

“We’re looking forward to actually having that open access to water and sewer, and honestly, a long-term reliable, consistent police department,” said St. Albans Town Manager Carrie Johnson.

Starting in 2024, the city police department will be expanded to cover the town. In exchange, the town will pay half of the police department’s expenses. The deal replaces the town’s current contract with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

“The policing services aspect of the agreement will begin when our current contract with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office expires on July 1, 2024, which will leave the St. Albans Police department and city administration that amount of time to gear up to take on their coverage needs,” said St. Albans town Selectman Brandon Deso.

Although the announcement of the agreement comes in the wake of the controversial election of Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore, both town and city officials say it didn’t have a role in the decision. Grismore, a former captain was fired after he was caught on video surveillance kicking a detainee. He went on to win the sheriff’s race in November. He is set to take office next month and has no plans to step down despite public pressure.

“This was started before and that has never come up as an issue of why we have to do this. But it did come up as an illustrative point of why an agreement like this is so important. Next time there’s a police chief for the St. Albans Police that needs to be selected, we’re going to have a seat at the table to help choose that person,” said St. Albans Town Selectboard Vice Chair Bryan Deslauriers.

The new agreement gives town officials additional powers to provide oversight of the department and gives the town a say in budgetary and policy decisions as well.

Along with policing, St. Albans Town residents will now also have all the same water and sewer rights as city residents, quelling century-old tension when the city broke away from the town and took the system with them.

“The City of St Albans will provide town properties ratepayers equal access to its water and sewer infrastructure, which effectively puts a dispute that goes back over 100 years to bed, hopefully for good,” Deso said.

The Selectboard and City Council intend to formally sign the agreement at the end of January.