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Weybridge to decide use of embezzlement settlement funds

WEYBRIDGE — Weybridge residents will gather at their local school this Wednesday, Sept. 25, to decide what to do with an insurance settlement of nearly half a million dollars stemming from an embezzlement case involving former Town Clerk Karen Brisson.
It was on July 18 that U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss sentenced Brisson to two years in jail, along with paying restitution, following her guilty plea to having embezzled funds from the town’s coffers over a period of at least six years.
The town’s insurance carrier reimbursed the town for its losses to the tune of $475,980. The selectboard now wants to hear from the community on what to do with the payout, and have called the Sept. 25 special meeting to propose several possible uses, including:
•  Spending $150,000 to pave approximately 1 mile of town highway.
•  Allocating $50,000 for a prorated property tax rebate, in a manner to be determined after consulting with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns attorney, to property owners of record on Nov. 12, 2012.
•  Using $15,000 for energy-related upgrades to be done at the town garage/fire department that would save an estimated $3,000 per year in heating costs.
•  Setting aside $100,000 for a “highway major equipment fund” to be used toward major purchases, such as loaders or tandem trucks for the town. Those future equipment purchases would of course have to be authorized by voters.
•  Using $160,000 to create a permanent reserve fund to be used to refund, if needed, established accounts which may have been drawn down; to reduce the need to borrow money in anticipation of tax receipts to pay bills during the summer; and for new projects or initiatives in the future that would be voted on by the town at a regular or special town meeting.
Weybridge Selectwoman Gale Hurd said voters on Sept. 25 will have the opportunity to amend the proposed amounts listed above, or pitch completely different uses for the funds.
“Voters are absolutely free to do as they wish,” Hurd said.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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