Town Meeting Recap 2015: Vergennes

VERGENNES — While the annual March municipal meeting in Vergennes does not include the typical Town Meeting Day votes on municipal and road budgets — the city council sets those spending plans in June — this week saw a lot of action in the Little City on Town Meeting Day.
Susan Ferland and Cheryl Brinkman squared off in a second go around for the seat on the Vergennes Union Elementary School board now held by Ferland. In 2012, Ferland, an insurance agent and former Addison Northeast Supervisory Union teacher, edged Brinkman, a public health chemist who was then an incumbent VUES and Addison Northwest Supervisory Board member, by one vote, 329-328.
In voting this past Tuesday, Brinkman came out on top by a slightly more convincing margin, 248-226.
In the four-way race for three spots on the Vergennes City Council, the two incumbents won the most votes — Joe Klopfenstein got 361 and Lowell Bertrand got 326 — and newcomer Jeffrey Fritz also earned a spot on the council with 294 votes. In fourth place with a respectable tally of 265 was William Northrop.
Susan Rakowski won a two-year term on the VUES board, and Mayor Bill Benton, running unopposed for a second term, won, as well. 
Vergennes joined other ANwSU towns in supporting putting $100,000 in the VUHS capital improvement fund; in the city 301 voters said yes and 218 said no.
But also like other ANwSU towns, Vergennes voted against a VUHS budget of roughly $10.47 million that had called for a $1 million increase. In Vergennes the tally was 258 for and 272 against.
Vergennes, Panton and Waltham voters in commingled balloting backed, 398-316, a $4.7 million VUES budget that will increase spending by about 7.7 percent over the current level of about $4.36 million.
Ferland had handed in a petition to get a question on the ballot asking for a citywide vote on a $42,000 playground that has since received Vergennes Development Review Board approval. It reads: “Should the City of Vergennes build a Toddler/Preschool park adjacent to the Sam Fishman Pool at Vergennes Memorial Park at a cost of $42,000, half of which would come from the city Water Tower Fund?”
City officials in December criticized the petition for not mentioning that the other half of the funding would come from a $21,000 state grant.
The article was defeated, 303-220.

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