Town Meeting Preview 2015: Ripton

RIPTON — Ripton residents on Tuesday, March 3, will decide a two-person race for a three-year term on the selectboard in what otherwise promises to be a low-key Town Meeting Day for the community.
The race involves incumbent Selectman Ronald Wimett, who faces a challenge from resident Perry Hanson. This is the second year in a row that Hanson will be trying to unseat an incumbent on the board. Last year, Selectwoman Laureen Cox bested Hanson by a 91-40 tally.
Ripton officials are proposing fiscal year 2016 budgets of $294,100 and $282,900, respectively, for highway and general services. The town last year converted from an annual budgeting cycle to a fiscal year, so last year’s highway and general fund proposals were for an 18-month period.
This year’s town meeting warning also features articles asking that the town clerk and treasurer’s positions be elected on an annual basis, beginning on March 1, 2016. It should also be noted that incumbent Town Clerk and Treasurer Sally Hoyler died last month after a short illness. The selectboard recently appointed Alison Joseph Dickinson to fill those positions through March 1, 2016.
Residents will be asked to approve a combined total of $16,832 for various Addison County-based social service organizations.
Ripton will field a 2015-2016 elementary school spending plan of $905,614, which represents a 1.25-percent boost compared to this year. But the district is projecting a K-12 homestead education property tax rate of $1.88 for Ripton, which would be a 10-cent (5.35 percent) hike. A recent trend of declining enrollment has been cited by school officials as a major reason for the tax jump.
Ripton currently serves 43 elementary students. The school has had some success attracting tuitioned students from Route 100 communities like Hancock and Granville that do not run their own elementary programs.
Running unopposed in local elections this Town Meeting Day will be Tim Hanson, for one year as town moderator; Kathleen Sullivan, one year as delinquent tax collector; Beth Eliason, one year as cemetery commissioner; and Carol Ford and Perry Hanson for terms of three years and two years, respectively, on the Ripton Elementary School board.
Ripton’s annual town meeting will be held on Monday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ripton Community House. Australian ballot voting will take place the next day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Ripton town offices.

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