Town Meeting Preview 2015: Shoreham

SHOREHAM — Shoreham residents at their town meeting next week will be asked if they’d like to sell an unused, 6-acre piece of town-owned land and use the proceeds for future community projects.
At issue is the Levi Morton Park property, located off of Lapham Bay Road. The parcel has never materialized into a park and is currently overgrown with brush. The selectboard believes the land is marketable as a building lot, which could generate proceeds for Shoreham’s Building Reserve Fund. That fund could be tapped for other municipal needs — such as repairs to the old Masonic Hall in the village that was donated to Shoreham a few years ago. Some residents believe the Masonic Hall could eventually become a nice community center.
Residents will be asked to approve a fiscal year 2016 highway budget of $653,323, up from the $633,340 that was OK’d for the current year.
The proposed general fund spending plan comes in at $281,009, up from the $267,219 endorsed for the current year.
Other articles on Shoreham’s town meeting agenda seek:
•  $10,000 to be transferred from the general fund balance to a reserve fund for fire department/rescue vehicles and equipment.
•  $16,000 to be transferred from the general fund balance to a Building and Grounds Repair Reserve Fund.
•  $4,500 for fireworks for the Shoreham Festival.
•  A combined total of $20,364 for various Addison County-based social service agency programs.
In Shoreham, voters will decide an elementary school budget proposal of $1,500,682, which translates into a 0.2-percent bump over the current spending plan. The K-12 homestead education property tax rate is being forecast at $1.684, which would be a boost of around 8 cents (or almost 5 percent) compared to this year.
School officials have cited declining student numbers and a drop in the local Common Level of Appraisal as reasons for the projected tax hike.
There are no contested local elections in Shoreham this year. Running unopposed are Will Stevens, one year, town moderator; Julie Ortuno, one year, town clerk; Kathleen Brisson, one year, town treasurer; Lorin Wood, one year, selectboard; Will Stevens and Karen Shackett, two years each, selectboard; Nick Causton, three years, UD-3 school board; and Ruth Shattuck Bernstein, two years, Shoreham school board. Howard Campbell, Deborah Diemand, Judson Hescock and Christine Gibson are all on the ballot for vacancies on the planning commission.
Shoreham town meeting will be held on Monday, March 2, at 6 p.m. at the Shoreham school auditorium. Australian ballot voting will take place the next day, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the town office.

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