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ID-4 board asked to move Middlebury school vote

Posted on November 20, 2014 |
By John Flowers



MIDDLEBURY — Mary Hogan Elementary School officials are discussing a proposal that the annual ID-4 school district budget be decided on Town Meeting Day instead of on the second Wednesday of April, and that residents cast ballots on the spending plan instead of passing judgment with a voice vote.

The ID-4 school board’s decision to consider the changes comes after a pitch by some local citizens and Middlebury officials who believe that a Town Meeting Day vote by Australian ballot would allow more residents to weigh in on annual Mary Hogan Elementary spending.

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UD-3 eyes teacher retirements to help balance its budget

Posted on November 13, 2014 |
By John Flowers



MIDDLEBURY — The potential retirement next year of more than 10 veteran teachers and a projected drop in the need for special education services are among the reasons why officials of the UD-3 school district believe they might be able to hold the 2015-2016 spending increase to below 2 percent.

full story

Brandon eyes a switch to floor vote on municipal budget

Posted on September 29, 2014 |
By Lee J. Kahrs



BRANDON — Vermonters are often heard yearning for the past, a simpler time, they say. Now, in an effort to change the course of Brandon’s recent budget voting past, a small band of taxpayers has an intriguing idea: Bring the floor vote back to Brandon Town Meeting.

full story

Brandon residents back town budget on fifth vote

Posted on August 28, 2014 |
By Lee J. Kahrs



BRANDON — For better or worse, Brandon has a budget.

In this, the last town in Vermont to pass a municipal spending plan, voters approved a budget on the fifth try Tuesday by a vote of 534-472.

But considering the austerity needed for voter approval, it is not exactly a time for celebration. Voters and officials alike are feeling bruised and beaten after five months of financial wrangling, finger pointing and frustration.

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Opinion: Brandon woes won't soon go

Posted on August 20, 2014 |
By Brian Fillioe



Wow, with all that Brandon has to worry about, such as almost $1 million in delinquent taxes, a budget going up for vote for try number five, some people are apparently obsessed with Richard Baker. Mr. Baker’s name was on the recently published list of delinquent taxpayers and is a former selectman and interim town manager.

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Guest Editorial: The 'new normal' or is it Vermont's denial?

Posted on August 11, 2014 |
By Emerson Lynn



It’s being called the new normal. Our unemployment rate is near full employment, the economy, while not robust, still trudges forward, real estate prices are edging upward — but the state’s budget is forever in the red.

We can’t seem to get ahead.

The next budget year continues the trend. The Shumlin administration has asked each of its agencies to submit a budget that reflects a 4 percent cut — totaling roughly $31 million.

full story

Opinion: For sake of future, Brandon voters must compromise

Posted on August 11, 2014 |
By Brian E. Fillioe



My interest was piqued by recent letters in the Reporter (July 30 edition) and Gene Pagano’s letter to the Herald. I must say I am beginning to think Brandon is doing an impression of the Israelites when they were in the wilderness for 40 years.

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Brandon budget defeated for fourth time

Posted on July 24, 2014 |
By Lee J. Kahrs



BRANDON — Prior to a fourth vote on its municipal budget, which took place Tuesday, Brandon had the dubious distinction of being the only town in Vermont without an approved 2014-2015 spending plan. After the votes were counted Tuesday evening that distinction was still intact.

Brandon voters rejected the most recent town budget proposal by a vote of 600-425.

full story

Opinion: Brandon voters must offer ideas on budget impasse

Posted on July 14, 2014 |
By Brian Fillioe



Does Brandon need eight police officers? No. Does Brandon need four highway guys? No. Brandon could do with less; however, just as there is a cost to employing that number of staff there is a cost to not having enough staff. Chief Brickell told the selectmen at a recent meeting the effects of less than eight police officers. And in reality there are seven officers and a school resource officer that Brandon uses during the down school time.

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Brandon voters nix budget for third time

Posted on June 26, 2014 |
By Lee J. Kahrs



BRANDON — The majority of Brandon voters voted “no” again on Tuesday, defeating the proposed municipal budget for the third time this year despite an impassioned plea from the selectboard chair. The tally was 376-671.

Three articles establishing $60,000 in three separate funds for specific purposes were also defeated.

On Wednesday morning, the board held an emergency meeting warned 24 hours before to figure out next steps, which will include cutting services and personnel as the end of the fiscal year looms on June 30.

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