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March 4th, 2015
GOSHEN — There was only one contested race in tiny Goshen, but Monday evening’s town meeting was nevertheless abuzz with discussion — much of it centered on garbage.
FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh residents at town meeting on Saturday at Ferrisburgh Central School (FCS) approved higher town spending and several other financial articles, and in Australian balloting at the town office building on Tuesday they picked a new selectman and defeated a proposed FCS budget for the second straight year and what observers believe is the second time ever.
CORNWALL — Cornwall residents at their town meeting elected Magna Dodge in a contested race for the selectboard and passed all of the money items on their warning.
Dodge defeated Brian Kemp, 116-98, amid a turnout of 224 voters — that’s 25 percent of the total registered voters in town.
Residents passed, by voice vote at Monday evening’s meeting, a fiscal year 2016 general fund budget of $486,610 and a highway budget request of $400,250.
BRISTOL — Voters in Bristol this week approved municipal spending plans but rejected the proposed budgets for the elementary and high schools.
On Monday evening voters OK’d a budget of $714,041 for the town highway fund, $607,735 of which is to be raised by taxes. The highway fund sum is almost exactly the same as last year.
BRIDPORT — Bridport residents at their town meeting agreed to take steps to take the town clerk, treasurer and tax collector positions off future election ballots and instead allow the local selectboard to appoint people to those positions. This will allow qualified candidates to apply from outside of the town of Bridport.
BRANDON — It’s time to move on. That seems to be the message from Brandon voters, as every article on the Town Meeting Day ballot was approved this week.
The Brandon selectboard warned a “no-frills” budget that represents a 2 percent, or $47,000, increase in the amount to be raised by taxes. The approved $2,906,075 spending plan calls for $2,425,370 to be raised by taxes — a 1.7 percent increase. Voters bought it, passing the budget, 609-418.
ADDISON — If Town Meeting Day polling is any indication, voters in Addison were willing to open up their wallets for most items on the school and municipal warnings — except for the Vergennes Union High School’s general operating budget. As in the other five towns that feed VUHS, Addison voters on Tuesday rejected the proposed $10.47 million high school spending plan; in Addison the tally was 140 no, 123 yes.
Residents did, however, approve the level-funded Addison Central School spending plan of $1,543,138; the vote was 166 yes, 98 no.
The House Education bill, H.361, is out. This rangy bill covers a considerable number of educational issues, and carries with it many of the ideas that had been raised through House Speaker Shap Smith’s education workgroup. Specifically, it bears down on both education spending and governance, proposing a spending cap and an incentive/disincentive approach that aims to move us forward collectively and strike a balance between mandate and self-selection.