Town Meeting Recap 2015: Waltham

WALTHAM — Waltham residents gathered on Monday night, approved town spending proposals, and picked two selectmen, and then throughout Tuesday cast ballots on school spending.
At Waltham Town Hall on Monday, residents backed $91,387 of general fund administrative spending and $133,825 of road spending. Both those figures are lower than current levels. The general fund proposal called for a drop of about $4,500, with town officials attributing much of that to lower anticipated legal fees after resolution of a legal issue. Road spending will drop more dramatically, by $47,000, after a major paving project his year.
As for elective office, from the floor of the meeting, voters returned Selectman Andrew Martin to office and, after longtime Selectman Kevin Bourdon announced he would step down, nominated and elected former Selectman Tim Ryan to fulfill the final year of Bourdon’s term.
Residents also returned Town Clerk Mary Ann Castimore and Treasurer Lucille Evarts to their posts. There were no school board elections in Waltham.
Residents also voted to use a projected carryover of $28,740 to reduce taxes for the current year; to continue to send $9,205 to support the Bixby Library, with that amount based on per capita rate similar that asked from other towns the library serves; and to support other charitable requests totaling $3,459.
They also approved town officials’ proposal to switch to a July 1 to June 30 fiscal year budget, effective for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2016. Officials said the pluses to the change include synching town and school fiscal years, eliminating the need to borrow money for operating expenses, and allowing more time for auditors to perform their work.
Waltham voters backed a VUHS budget of roughly $10.47 million that had called for a $1 million increase, 54-35, but it lost overall among Addison Northwest Supervisory Union towns, 831-718. Administrators had said the plan would begin to dig VUHS out of its deep financial hole and would better reflect the cost of operating the school after years of underfunded spending.
Waltham joined other ANwSU towns in supporting putting $100,000 in the VUHS capital improvement fund; the overall margin was 802-730. 
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.
Deficit spending and accounting for poor past accounting practices are also driving the VUES budget higher, according to ANwSU officials.

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