Middlebury board edges toward budget
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard made no changes to a proposed 2014-2015 municipal budget of $9,154,323 that was presented and drew few comments at a public hearing on Tuesday.
The board on Jan. 28 will finalize the budget for the March 3 town meeting, at which voters will weigh in on the spending plan. The current version would require a property tax levy of $6,526,393.
The budget — coupled with funding requirements for the town’s fire equipment fund, business development fund and debt service for the proposed recreation facility and town office projects — would raise the total municipal tax rate by 3.86 cents to 94.92 cents per $100 in property value. That figure does not include school taxes.
In other action on Tuesday, the selectboard received confirmation that residents Michael and Judy Olinick had collected enough signatures to place a citizens’ petition on the March 4 Town Meeting Day ballot (see related story).
That petition reads, “Shall the voters of the town of Middlebury advise the selectboard to retain the town offices and municipal gymnasium on the current site as publicly owned land and to develop, for voter approval, a plan to replace and/or upgrade these facilities on this site?”
Current plans call for new town offices to be built at 77 Main St. and a new recreation center to be erected off Creek Road. The Olinicks want the town to instead repair or rebuild those facilities at their current location at 94 Main St.
Michael Olinick on Tuesday gave the board a statement about the petition drive. It reads, in part:
“Many Middlebury citizens oppose the plan favored by the majority of the Select Board. Selling off the land to the College means squeezing in an inadequate town hall, which would block the needed expansion of the Ilsley library and exacerbate an already difficult parking problem. It also means building a smaller gym than the one we have now at a spot difficult for seniors, teens and pedestrians to reach.
“The centrality of the current site, room to expand, and ample parking make it a far better choice. The existing gym draws people of all ages, contributing to a vital and thriving downtown.”
The petitioned question is to appear, along with the selectboard’s proposed plan, on the March 4 ballot.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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