Town Meeting Preview 2015: Goshen

GOSHEN — Residents in little Goshen will have some big decisions to make next week on the future of garbage and recycling in town. When folks gather for town meeting on Monday at 7 p.m. at town hall Selectman Kevin O’Classen said townspeople will continue a discussion started in October on Act 148.
O’Classen explained that currently the town picks up residents’ trash curbside and has a central point for collecting recycling, but under the new state law it will need to either collect both trash and recycling curbside, or collect both at a central point. Residents will also decide whether to make the first unit of trash exempt from a charge, or to charge for every bag.
“We pulled together a cost analysis and we’re giving it to the voters to decide,” O’Classen said. “It will add a couple thousand dollars to the (town) budget.”
Residents will also vote on the proposed general fund spending plan of $211,898, and the proposed highway budget of $136,200. That compares to the general fund budget for the current year of $215,285 and the highway spending plan of $134,200,
“We’re in good shape financially and equipment wise,” O’Classen said.
When discussion turns to the school budget, some Goshen residents may initially experience a little sticker shock, as proposed school spending would rise 28.9 percent from $145,456 this year to $187,500. But Brenda Fleming, the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union director of business and finance, explained that the spending number is fluctuating so much because there are more students in the coming year, but that per-pupil spending will actually decline by $475. And since state aid is based on number of students, the Goshen education tax rate would go down 6 cents, Fleming said.
Last year Goshen had 9.81 equalized pupils (number of students is based on a complicated formula) and this year it is 14.18.
“Goshen is small so it is very vulnerable to the swings in enrollment costs,” Fleming said.
On Tuesday polls will be open at the Goshen Town Hall from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for voting on town officials. There is only one contested race: for first constable. The current first constable, Shawn Martin, is being challenged for that job by the current second constable, Ed Hayes.
Two selectmen will also be on the ballot looking for election to three-year terms. Selectboard Chairman O’Classen is one. The other is Jeff Cathcart, who was appointed to fill the vacancy created when longtime Selectman David Gale resigned last summer, a few months before Gale regrettably died at age 76 on Nov. 19.

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