Archive - Dec 17, 2009
SHOREHAM — The Ticonderoga Ferry closed for the day on Thursday due to ice forming on Lake Champlain, but officials said it plans to restart service on Friday if lake conditions allow.
The ferry has provided a critical transportation link between Shoreham, Vt., and Ticonderoga, N.Y., since the Lake Champlain Bridge (about 10 miles north) was closed on Oct. 16.
Tax Commissioner Rich Westman has been touring the state for the past couple of months warning that current school spending was not sustainable without significant tax increases. He followed those warnings by becoming the first tax commissioner to recommend raising the statewide property tax. The first warnings barely made headlines back in October; the proposed statewide tax increase got most people’s attention; and now that local stories are reporting local taxes could go up 6 percent and budgets are still having to be cut substantially, most everyone is paying attention.
MIDDLEBURY — The UD-3 school board will present voters on Town Meeting Day a proposed 2010-2011 budget of $15,967,209, representing a 2.81-percent increase in spending and a potential hike of 5.9 percent in the education property tax rate.
The board made its decision Tuesday after more than two hours of debate on whether to reduce the budget’s impact on taxpayers by further cutting Middlebury Union High School and Middlebury Union Middle School programs, and/or using a substantial chunk of the district’s $512,189 fund balance for property tax relief.
ADDISON COUNTY — The number of Vermont schoolchildren participating in school breakfast programs is on the rise, but many school administrators and food program directors are finding that federal and state reimbursements for the programs aren’t covering the costs of those initiatives.
On average, almost 15,000 low-income schoolchildren eat a free school breakfast every day in Vermont. That number represents a 15.5 percent increase over last year’s figures, according to the Food Research and Action Center, and marks the largest percent increase in the country.
ADDISON — A modified, tied-arch bridge has emerged as the leading replacement design from among six conceptual options for a new Champlain Bridge.
New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) officials unveiled those six design options at a series of public hearings in Ticonderoga, N.Y., last Saturday. The options included a using a long-span steel girder bridge; a segmental concrete bridge (cast-in-place or pre-cast); a steel composite cable-stayed bridge; a concrete extra-dosed bridge; or a network tied-arch bridge.
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Union High School hockey team erupted on offense against winless Mount St. Joseph on Saturday and coasted to a 14-1 home win.
Emmy Hescock paced the attack with four goals, and Saige Twombly added three goals. Gen Beloin and Maria Ploof chipped in with a pair of goals apiece, and Theresa Huestis, Sara Boudah and Kayla Quesnel-Cousino contributed one tally each.
Tiger goalie Ashley Howlett stopped nine of the 10 MSJ shots she faced as the Tigers improved to 2-1. That win total equals that of the Tigers’ regular season last winter.
BRISTOL — An accounting mistake sent up a major roadblock for the Mount Abraham Union High School board of directors this week, sending school board members and administrators back to square one to draft the high school’s 2010-2011 spending plan all while grappling with an unexpected additional $475,000 in necessary cuts.
Addison Northeast Supervisory Union Business Manager explained that an incomplete estimate in the early budget drafts put the “balance forward” number in the school budget much higher than is accurate.
ADDISON COUNTY — Three “Cow Power” farms that pioneered the generation of electricity from manure are suffering because they say the price they are paid for that power doesn’t meet the cost of producing it. Now they are getting some relief from the Public Service Board, which last week approved a temporary hike in that price.