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Town Meeting Preview 2015: Orwell

ORWELL — Orwell residents will cast ballots on school and municipal budgets, elect town and school officials and decide a number of items at the annual town meeting. Orwell has moved its meeting from the first Tuesday in March to the preceding Monday evening; the meeting starts at 7 p.m. on March 2 at the Orwell Town Hall. 
Voters will elect 20 town officers and a couple of school board positions, many of which are running unopposed. Orwell will see two contested elections.
Incumbent selectboard member Carla Ochs will face off against Richard Buxton Jr. for a two-year term. Incumbent school board member Peter Ochs is running against Peter Stone for a two-year term. Also, Amy Roy is unopposed for a three-year term as a school director.
The proposed school spending plan for the next fiscal year comes to $1,809,406, a 5.5 percent increase from the $1,709,645 approved last year. 
Residents will also decide whether to spend $20,000 to make renovations to the existing art room, bringing it up to state and federal codes so a preschool program can be implemented in fall of 2016.
The proposed town budget is warned at $974,678.57, which represents a 3-percent increase over last year. Selectboard Chair Roland “Ted” Simmons said the increase is largely due to the large use of sand and salt during two hard winters.  
Voters will decide whether to appropriate funds for the following town projects:
•  $12,500 for the Ethan M. & Eliza T. Wright Memorial Library building.
•  $2,500 for books and materials for the Orwell Free Library.
•  $150 for St. Paul’s Cemetery in order to defray a portion of 2015 maintenance costs.
•  $1,800 for the 2016 operating expenses of the Orwell Parade Committee.
•  $750 for operating costs of the Sixty-Plus Club of Orwell.
•  $200 to research a monument recognizing veterans of Orwell since World War II.
•  $10,000 to fund the installation of a well required for the town library.
Residents will also vote on $9,975 for social services agencies, including Addison County Home Health and Hospice Inc., Addison County WomenSafe, Elderly Services, Champlain Valley Agency on Aging and others.
Voting on items will be held on March 3 from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Orwell Town Hall. 

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