Resident concerned by potential expense of Barre’s new town attorney

Posted 25 March 2022 at 8:13 am


What’s happening in the Town of Barre? Our town has appointed a new lawyer and the cost will shock you! This new lawyer is from Rochester, has limited municipal law experience and specializes in Environmental and land use law. Also, she doesn’t do contract negotiations but can recommend another lawyer for an additional fee.  The firm she works for – Zoghlin  Law – has represented Clear Skies Above Barre and is still listed on the DMM website as of January 4, 2022.

The town’s previous attorney had a retainer for $7,500 and his average cost was about $15,000 per year. The new attorney will charge $225 per hour and assuming she spends five hours a week on town business, for a total of 260 hours, the cost will be $58,500.

There was another applicant for the job. He is from a small law firm, experienced in town law, would negotiate contracts and has no conflict of interest . His fee was $80 less per hour. Other small towns in our county have budgeted between $12,000 and $16,000 for their attorneys.  (Check Town websites.)

This was voted on by the new members of the board and one current one. Two of these members have had an affiliation with Clear Skies Above Barre and it definitely appears like a conflict of interest. This lawyer is clearly not aligned with our town and its goals.

As a taxpayer this should make you wonder what is happening and why.  Are all residents being fairly represented, do we have a voice or are we being represented by a monopoly?

We have one of the highest tax rates, declining population, agriculture as our only business and the average income in the county is $36,000.

I am a very concerned resident! Contact your local board members and let you voice be heard!

Alice Mathes