Town Meeting Preview 2015: Addison

ADDISON — Decisions on spending will dominate Addison’s Monday, March 2, town and school meetings, and Tuesday, March 3, balloting.
One financial measure will be discussed on Monday night during the school portion of the joint town and school meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. at Addison Central School (ACS). Residents will be asked to add $10,000 to the ACS capital improvement fund, an annual request.
On Tuesday, residents may cast their ballots between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on town, ACS and Vergennes Union High School spending, but there are no contested races for town office.
There will be a change on the selectboard, however, after incumbent Joy Pouliot chose not to seek reelection after serving three terms, beginning in 2008.
On the selectboard ballot with unopposed incumbents Jeff Kauffman, the board’s longtime chairman, and Roger Waterman, who was appointed in 2014 to a vacancy, will be farmer Peter Briggs. Briggs ran a strong third this past fall in the four-person field for the two Vergennes-area Vermont House seats.
Longtime ACS board member Rob Hunt is running unopposed to add three years to his already roughly two decades of service on that panel. But no one filed for the ACS board seat now held by the departing Tim Lindenmeyr, and town officials said as of mid-February no one had mounted a write-in campaign.
The selectboard is requesting $303,038 for the town office and administrative portion of 2015-2016 spending, a decrease of almost $4,800.
The board is seeking an increase in road spending, however, of about $31,600 to $682,712.
Overall, if residents approve that spending on March 3, it would represent an increase of about 2.8 percent.
Also on the ballot is a level-funded ACS budget of $1,543,138.
Meanwhile, the Vergennes Union High School board is proposing a roughly $10.47 million budget that administrators said will begin to dig VUHS out of its deep financial hole and would better reflect the cost of operating the school after years of underfunding key items by previous administrators.
To reach those goals, the budget calls for an 11 percent increase of about $1 million over the VUHS budget Addison Northwest Supervisory Union voters approved this past spring.
According to ANwSU estimates, assuming the VUHS budget, the ACS budget, and $10,000 capital fund article are all approved, and the Legislature adds 2 cents to the statewide education tax rate, Addison’s school tax rate is estimated to rise by about 6 percent, or 8.6 cents, to $1.5172.
An 8.6-cent increase in the Addison tax rate would mean an additional $86 in taxes for every $100,000 of assessed value on a home. Those in Addison who pay based under income sensitivity provisions of the state’s financing law would not necessarily feel the full weight of the increase. About two-thirds of Addison’s homeowners received prebates averaging well over $1,000 in the most recent year for which data is available.

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