Ferrisburgh’s town meeting date changed to Saturday, Feb. 28

FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh officials are hoping that a decision made at town meeting a year ago will pay off in better attendance at this year’s annual gathering — assuming that residents remember a change was made to its date.
Last March, residents voted overwhelmingly from the floor of town meeting — according to minutes there were “many yeses and a few noes” — to move the day of the gathering from the first Tuesday of March to the previous Saturday.
That decision means this year’s Ferrisburgh Town Meeting will be held at Ferrisburgh Central School on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 10 a.m., not on March 3. The annual Ferrisburgh Central School meeting will follow that Saturday at 1 p.m.
Australian balloting will be held as usual on Tuesday, March 3, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. On that ballot will be all school spending measures and races for town officers, including contested races for the selectboard and delinquent tax collector. As has been the case in recent town-wide balloting, the Route 7 town office building and community center will host that vote.
Selectboard Chairwoman Loretta Lawrence acknowledged that despite the one-sided vote last year, “there’s such confusion” about the changes, and that town and school officials are working hard to get the word out.
But Lawrence also said there were many good reasons to make the change, starting with offering the meeting at what the selectboard believes will be a more convenient time for many residents.
“We’re trying to reach a larger cross-section of people that can’t get the day off on Tuesday,” Lawrence said. “We’re trying to make it more equitable for everyone.”
Other reasons include allowing that Tuesday to proceed in its usual orderly and safe manner at Ferrisburgh Central School, where Lawrence works as an administrative assistant.
“We were the only school that closed down in our district,” she said. “It was disruptive.”
Late in 2013, the FCS board and the selectboard met and discussed the issue, and with school shootings fresh in everyone’s mind at that point school board members also pointed out that the open building posed security issues during the school day.
At the same time, Lawrence said the school board still wanted to showcase the school to the community, and suggested the Saturday alternative. “It’s a win-win to try it and still let people come in and see their school,” Lawrence said.

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