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June 4th, 2007

OV budget vote: Round 3

June 4, 2007

By MEGAN JAMES

BRANDON — A slightly slimmed-down version of Otter Valley Union High School’s proposed 2007-2008 spending plan, twice rejected by district voters this spring, will go before those voters again on Tuesday, June 12, for a third chance at approval.

Residents of the six Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union towns — Brandon, Goshen, Leicester, Pittsford, Sudbury and Whiting — will be asked to approve a $10,766,837 spending plan, which they would fund through $8,652,535 in local taxes. That tax figures represents a 0.32 percent increase from the current year’s $8,624,808 tax levy.

Voting will take place at regular town polling places and times, and any time before June 11 voters can pick up absentee ballots from their town offices or call their town clerks to have a ballot sent to them.

full story

Ferrisburgh land purchase

June 4, 2007

By ANDY KIRKALDY

FERRISBURGH — A newly formed Ferrisburgh committee met on Thursday with the new owners of a 34-acre Route 7 parcel that town residents twice voted on whether to buy, and the two sides talked seriously about the town buying some of the land.

The parcel’s owners as of May 18 are Peter and Lisa Denton of Ferrisburgh, in partnership with David Carpenter of Charlotte. Under the name DC Builders and Developers LLC they paid $750,000 for the property, which includes a house and a barn and abuts the town’s elementary school and future town office site.

That purchase price from Clark Hinsdale Jr. of Charlotte was the same amount the town of Ferrisburgh had agreed to pay for the land, which has both the only good soils for in-ground septic systems in the Route 7 village area and local permits for a nine-lot housing subdivision. The town’s easements on the land for septic service for the school and the town office site remain in force.

full story

Fate of mobile home park to be decided next week

June 4, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MONKTON — June 13 will be an important day for residents of the Vaughan Mobile Home Park in Monkton. That’s the date on which state officials will determine whether to commit $225,000 toward septic system repairs that would allow the mobile home park on Hollow Road to remain open.

The town of Monkton and the Addison County Community Trust (ACCT) are jointly seeking the $225,000 through the Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP). Plans call for the ACCT to borrow an additional $125,000, for a total $350,000 project that would involve replacing the current failing Vaughan septic system with a new one that would be located on land on the other side of Hollow Road.

full story

May 31st

VUHS keeps German course; other difficulties foreseen

May 31, 2007

By ANDY KIRKALDY

VERGENNES — In a special meeting held on May 22 the Vergennes Union High School board voted against two administrators’ recommendation and preserved the school’s German language program in a decision that may be a preview of future difficult choices that lie ahead at VUHS.

About 25 citizens and staff members came to the meeting to support the German program, which Principal Ed Webbley and Addison Northwest Supervisory Union Superintendent Thomas O’Brien had said should be phased out over the next three years after the retirement of longtime teacher Joy Minns, who will step down at the end of this school year.

O’Brien said he was disappointed by the board’s decision given the school’s scheduling and funding problems, one of many tough calls he said the VUHS board may have to make in the next six years, when enrollment is estimated to decrease by as much as 20 percent.

full story

Very productive legislative session

May 31, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — Vermont House Speaker Gaye Symington said the state should be proud of what she characterized as a “very productive” 2007 session during which lawmakers passed initiatives that will have a long-term, rather than a short-term, payoff.

Symington, a Jericho Democrat, acknowledged that while the Legislature did not make a lot of big headlines and breakthroughs on issues like property tax reform, she believes lawmakers did take important steps to ensure that Vermonters will have energy savings, a better telecommunications network and stronger farms in the future.

full story

May 29th

City reappraisal "staggering" to homeowners

May 28, 2007

By ANDY KIRKALDY

VERGENNES — Vergennes board of listers chairman Mel Hawley told aldermen last week that the effect of the just-completed city-wide reappraisal would be “staggering� on many homeowners, but that the results of the 18-month valuation effort were fair.

Since 1993, the last time the city’s property was reappraised, Hawley said that the value of Vergennes homes has increased at a faster rate than the value of the city’s commercial and industrial properties.

As a result, he said, homeowners have actually been paying a lower percentage of the city’s taxes than they should have been. Now, according to examples Hawley provided aldermen at their May 22 meeting, homeowners could be looking at tax hikes ranging from 4.5 percent to 37.3 percent.

“Residential properties over the past 14 years were paying less than their fair share. So what this is, is actually corrected,� Hawley said. “I know it’s staggering, but it’s correcting inequities that occurred over that 14-year period.�

full story

Lincoln housing plans

May 28, 2007

By CYRUS LEVESQUE

LINCOLN — A local resident is planning to build six houses on about 60 acres of property between Purinton Road and Downingsville Road in Lincoln into six separate housing lots. If the plan goes through, it will represent a substantial development in the area.

The Lincoln Planning Commission will evaluate the proposal at a public hearing on Monday, June 7, at 7:15 p.m. the town office.

The property belongs to Lincoln resident Dhyani Ywahoo. She said she decided around 2005 to build houses on the land both to develop the investment, and for some friends of hers, who will be living in some of the houses. “I wish to regather some of my investment, and also wish to have friends living nearby,� she said.

Originally, she said there were ambitious plans for a “green� development that would have greatly reduced energy use and relied on renewable fuel sources such as solar or geothermal energy. “With the cost of fuel, it’s really become very significant,� she said.

full story

May 24th

Memorial Day reflections

May 24, 2007

By ANDY KIRKALDY

VERGENNES — Like many World War II veterans, Vergennes native Martin Casey says he was just doing his job when he signed up to fight fascism, a decision that led him to fight under Gen. George S. Patton in Germany and then do post-war service in Japan. 

Although he enlisted to serve in WWII, it took some arm-twisting on the part of officials of Vergennes American Legion Post 14, an outfit Casey has served as commander four times, to get him to agree to act as the marshal of the city’s Memorial Day parade, the state’s largest.

Casey, an accomplished musician and former Vergennes city clerk and shop owner who has also held many other key offices for Post 14, said others are more deserving of the honor. His parting words to an interviewer discussing parade duty with him were, “Don’t make me out to be some kind of war hero.”

full story

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