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January 28th, 2010
ADDISON COUNTY — Ten years ago, fast Internet access was more luxury than necessity. Web sites were simpler, people purchased music on CDs instead of online, and YouTube didn’t exist. But times have changed.
Internet access is quickly becoming a necessity of modern life. In the more remote areas of Vermont, this has created problems for people like professional data analyst Ed Nelbach.
“I’m miles behind those with broadband access,” said Nelbach, a Hancock resident.
VERGENNES — Vergennes residents in March will have the chance to vote themselves a 15-day period during which they would be allowed to make late payments on tax and sewer bills without an interest penalty.
A provision for such a grace period is on the Town Meeting Day ballot adopted by Vergennes aldermen at their Tuesday meeting.
Current city laws call for a 1 percent penalty to be applied automatically if quarterly tax or sewer payments are even one day late, but City Hall workers urged aldermen to consider giving residents the power to make the change.
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury voters at their town meeting will be asked to endorse a virtually level-funded 2010-2011 municipal budget; approve a six-year phase-out of the local machinery and equipment (M&E) tax; and float a five-year, $203,000 loan to buy some new municipal vehicles and related equipment.
MIDDLEBURY — Students at Middlebury College are putting down their pencils and picking up knitting needles this month in a volunteer effort to keep Addison County residents warm.
The students are part of a Winter Term workshop that is meeting once a week in January to create hats and scarves they’ll donate to the Middlebury nonprofit Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE).
For AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Carrie Pratt, who works at the college, the project was a way to combine two of her favorite things: knitting, a hobby she’s enjoyed since high school, and community service.
BRISTOL — Hustling to meet a statutory deadline, Bristol selectmen on Monday chose to pass on to voters unchanged a proposed Bristol extraction ordinance that, if approved, would govern gravel extraction operations in the town.
Had the board opted to make even minor changes to the document, the ordinance would not have been eligible to head to a Town Meeting Day vote, when Bristol residents will also weigh a proposed town plan that has been four years in the making.
BRISTOL — Elementary schools in the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union are escaping some of the severe budget cuts wracking other schools in the county, but residents are still projected to see tax rate increases ranging from 3 to 13 cents in the five ANeSU towns if the schools’ budgets are OK’d by voters at Town Meeting Day in March.
VERGENNES — Not counting possible write-ins competition or floor votes, Vergennes-area residents may face only two choices between candidates for office on Town Meeting Day.
In Ferrisburgh, incumbent selectman and former town fire chief Bob Jenkins is facing a challenge from Kurt Plank, an organizer of the Friends of Ferrisburgh for Responsible Growth group that, among other things, opposed the Route 7 Champlain Oil Company Inc. proposal for a combined convenience store, fast-food restaurant and gas station.
LEICESTER — The Leicester Central School board has voted to adopt a proposed 2010-2011 spending plan of $1,400,086, which represents a decrease of $8,573, or 0.82 percent, in total spending from the current year.
The board met on Jan. 13 to finalize the budget, which will go to a vote on Town Meeting Day in March.