Town Meeting Wrap 2015: Bristol

BRISTOL — Voters in Bristol this week approved municipal spending plans but rejected the proposed budgets for the elementary and high schools.
On Monday evening voters OK’d a budget of $714,041 for the town highway fund, $607,735 of which is to be raised by taxes. The highway fund sum is almost exactly the same as last year.
Voters also said “yes” to a general fund spending proposal of $771,424, of which $553,817 would be raised through taxation. The general fund proposal is 8.0 percent higher than the sum approved by voters last year, due in large part to contributions to the landfill closure fund and rent to store Bristol Fire Department vehicles offsite.
In other business, residents agreed to fund a $255,489 budget for spending on the arts, parks and recreation department, of which $173,239 would be raised by taxes.
In line with previous years, voters approved a salary of $500 plus a $15 stipend per meeting for selectboard members. They also lowered the penalty for delinquent taxes from 1 percent for the first three months and then 1.5 percent thereafter to 0.75 percent for the first three months and 1.25 percent thereafter.
In Australian ballot voting, residents of the Bristol Police District in the village approved a Bristol Police Department budget of $396,220, of which $345,695 would be raised through taxes; the margin here was 223 in favor to 126 opposed.
The Bristol Elementary School proposed spending plan of $4.93 million didn’t fare as well — it failed 377 to 267. Many residents at the school meeting Monday evening said they were dismayed the administration planned to lay off a teacher and five aides at BES. Addison Northeast Supervisory Union voters also rejected a $14.06 million proposed budget for Mount Abraham Union High School, 1,241 to 1,088.
The town ballot featured no contested races. Incumbent Selectmen Joel Bouvier and John “Peeker” Heffernan were re-elected to three-year and two-year terms, respectively, as were Bristol Elementary School board incumbents Chris Scrodin and Sheryl Thurber — both to one-year terms. Newcomer Krista Siringo won a three-year term on the Bristol school board. Voters returned Kris Pearsall to the Mount Abraham Union High School board for three years.
Jen Stetson Myers, who was appointed to the town clerk and treasurer positions last year, was officially elected to the posts. Bristol Police Chief Kevin Gibbs was elected first constable while Ken Marcelle will be second constable.
Other candidates included Fred Baser for town and school moderator, Frank Buonincontro for grand juror, Theresa Gile for lister, Therese Kirby for delinquent tax collector and Caroline Engvall and Jill Mackler for two library trustee positions.

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