2016 Addison Town Meeting Preview
ADDISON — Addison residents on March 1 will vote by Australian ballot at the town clerk’s office from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on town and school budgets, Addison Northwest Supervisory Union unification (see story, Page 1A), a number of measures to create reserve funds, and on candidates for town and school offices, all uncontested.
At the annual town and Addison Central School meeting, beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday in the school gym, voters will also be asked to authorize the selectboard to negotiate a land swap with the school board.
Town and school officials have been discussing a land exchange that would move along the town’s effort to renovate the now-vacant former Addison Town Hall and use it as the town clerk’s office and community center. Town officials have been studying the idea for a decade.
To do so, Addison would have to build a community septic system on land west of the school, a system that would serve the town hall, the church next to the town hall, and the town’s fire department.
And the town must also clean up a patchwork of land ownership around the town hall, the existing clerk’s office and the central school, something the land swap would handle.
The selectboard is also seeking approval to borrow $50,000 to fund the next phase of developing the community sewer system, an item residents will decide by Australian ballot on Tuesday.
Also to be decided on Tuesday, the selectboard is proposing $325,261 for the town administration budget and $732,236 for the highway department budget.
The selectboard is also asking voters to back reserve funds for highway equipment, culverts, the town’s service bay/salt shed, and the town hall, all to be “funded with voter-approved budget appropriations” in the next year.
Addison will considera full slate of candidates, with no major openings, but also no races.
Incumbent Selectmen Roger Waterman and Steven Torrey are both seeking re-election, and will run unopposed, as are Town Clerk and Treasurer Marilla Webb and school board treasurer Jill Bourgeois.
Two newcomers filed for seats on the school board, Jasmine Almeida and Michael Krause; no Addison terms came due on the Vergennes Union High School Board.
As well as making their opinion known on whether ANwSU should unify under one-board governance, Addison residents will also choose who will fill the town’s two seats on the proposed Addison Northwest Unified District Board, which would function only if unification passes; VUHS Board Chairwoman Laurie Childers and ACS Board Vice Chairman George Lawrence filed petitions for those seats.
As for school spending, the VUHS board adopted a $10,026,000 budget proposal for the 2016-2017 school year that represents a 2.23 percent spending cut from current spending.
Including also a separate $100,000 capital fund line item that voters will weigh in on, VUHS spending would still be reduced by about $134,000, or 1.3 percent.
The ACS Board adopted a $1,606,375 budget proposal that would make few changes to the elementary school’s program and would raise spending by 4.12 percent, or about $63,000.
That increase is almost entirely driven by contracted raises and an expected hike of roughly 8 percent in health insurance benefits, officials said.
The school board decided to use $100,000 of a projected fund balance from the end of the current school year to keep spending under the original dollar-for-dollar Act 46 penalty threshold.