2016 Brandon Town Meeting Preview

BRANDON — On Town Meeting Day Brandon voters will consider a municipal budget that would require the town to collect about 2 percent more in taxes than it did last year.
Brandon’s annual town and school district meeting will take place on Monday beginning at 7 p.m. at Neshobe School. Voting on town and school budgets and officers will take place Monday at the school from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The proposed 2016-2017 spending plan, if approved, will raise $2,486,822 in taxes, a 2.11 percent increase over the current spending plan. Included in the proposed budget is a $20,000 bond payment on a $816,430 bond question the board also approved for the Town Meeting Day ballot. The 20-year bond is being proposed to raise the matching funds needed for the Neshobe River overflow culvert, the Segment 6 upgrade of Route 7 through downtown Brandon, and the rehabilitation of Bridge 114 on Center Street at the foot of West Seminary Street.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is funding 75 percent of the culvert project with 25 percent — or $487,430 — coming from Brandon. For the Segment 6 matching funds, the town needs $245,000, and for Bridge 114, $84,000 is needed for the town’s match. Voters will be asked to approve a 20-year bond, which would incur a payment of $20,000 from the town in the first year. However, it will be possible to pay ahead on the loan.
Brandon voters will see a request for floating a $680,000 bond for a wastewater pump station, but last week a consultant told the selectboard that, even if this is passed, ratepayers will not see a rise in rates because Brandon has paid off other debt related to the sewers.
Brandon voters also will be asked to approve the use of $18,000 from the Town Farm Fund to pay for the sidewalk project on Union and Maple streets. The board discovered last year that the town had accepted state funds for the project almost a decade ago, but no work was ever done. If the sidewalk is not done, the town will have to pay the state back $78,000.
The Town Farm Fund was established in 1940 with the sale of the Town Farm, there is currently $33,274 in the fund.
Fourteen articles on the Town Meeting Day ballot will seek approval for spending on various agencies and charities, including $85,500 for the Brandon Free Public Library, $13,500 for the Brandon Senior Citizens Center, and not more than $100,250 for paving 12 village streets.
For the first time, voters in the new Otter Valley Unified Union school district will vote on a budget that encompasses school costs in Brandon, Goshen, Leicester, Pittsford, Sudbury and Whiting, as well as at Otter Valley Union High School. Proposed spending for fiscal year 2016-2017 is , which represents education spending of $14,495 per equalized pupil.
Because the OVUU unified district wasn’t approved until just this winter, towns had to warn budgets for their town school and OVUHS (in case voters petitioned to reconsider the unified district by Feb. 19, which they didn’t). So Brandon voters will also be able to cast ballot on the Neshobe School budget ($5,470,056) and OVUHS budget ($10,752,257). As long as the Otter Valley Unified Union budget passes, those votes will be irrelevant.
There is only one race in Brandon this year. Brandon Economic Development Officer and Recreation Director Bill Moore has filed a petition to run for town moderator and school moderator against incumbent Hanford “Skip” Davis for the one-year seat.
Several incumbents running unopposed are: Devon Fuller, selectboard, three years; Doug Baily and Ethan Swift, selectboard, two one-year seats; Sharron Kenney, trustee of public funds, three years; Sharron Kenney, Brandon Free Public Library trustee, two years; Jeff Guevin, town agent and grand juror, one year.

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