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Aldermen tax petition filed too late

VERGENNES — Members of the Vergennes City Council meeting, at their Jan. 26 meeting, deemed untimely a petition submitted by former Alderwoman Clara “Ziggy” Comeau and declined to place an article she requested on the Town Meeting Day ballot.
Petitioned articles had a Jan. 14 deadline, earlier than the Jan. 25 deadline for submitting paperwork for those wishing to run for elective office. Comeau presented her petition on Jan. 21, Hawley said, saying she had been confused about the dates.
Comeau sought a public vote on whether the city council should use all proceeds from the city’s Water Tower Fund to offset taxes. The fund reaps roughly $100,000 a year from cell companies to place broadcast equipment on the city’s former water tower. For about 17 years, including the time when Comeau was on the city council, aldermen have used that fund to pay for improvements to the city’s downtown area. Often, they have tapped the Water Tower Fund to pay the city’s local share of state and federal grants.
Also at that meeting, the council formed a committee to consider extensions to the city sewers (see story on Page 2), and also:
• Heard from City Manager Mel Hawley that cell phone company AT&T had renegotiated its contract with Vergennes to add equipment on the water tower and that the new deal would net the city an extra $650 a month.
• Were told by Hawley that delinquent tax collections had gone exceptionally well, boosting the city’s revenue picture. Only 11 properties are in arrears, he said on Wednesday.
Editor’s note: This story was updated since it was originally posted to correct an error: The petition deadline was Jan. 14, but the story originally had it as Jan. 13.

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