2016 Leicester Town Meeting Preview

LEICESTER — Leicester residents will start their town meeting at 7 p.m. at the Leicester Meeting House on Monday, Feb. 29, to weigh school and town budgets. Voters will decide on a municipal spending plan of $595,192, which represents an increase of $20,908, or 7 percent, over the $574,283 spending plan approved last year.
The municipal budget is warned in two parts: general expenses and highway expenses. The selectboard has asked for $272,856 for general expenses with $235,338 to be raised by taxes, and $322,335 for highway expenses with $241,857 to be raised by taxes. Compared to the budgets approved last year, these figures represent slight increases of $900 in general expenses and $20,000 in highway expenses.
Residents will also vote on an additional $20,000 for road paving, $20,000 for future culvert and bridge requirements and $1,885 for Addison County Transit Resources.
Voters will vote on a motion to eliminate the office of town lister and replace it with a professionally qualified assessor who would have the same powers and responsibilities.
In local elections, voters will elect 10 officers including two selectboard members, one to a three-year term, another to a two-year term. Incumbent selectboard members Diane Benware and Kenneth Young’s  terms are both expiring March 1.
Voters will also elect a delinquent tax collector, two constables, a town grand juror and a town agent. Voting will be done by Australian ballot on March 1 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the Leicester Town Offices.    
Immediately following the town meeting, voters in the Leicester school district will decide on a $1,057,260 school spending plan, which represents a decrease of $96,298, or 8 percent, from the previous year. The proposed budget is estimated to result in education spending of $14,303 per equalized pupil.
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 $22,604,806, which represents education spending of $14,495 per equalized pupil. Leicester residents will vote on this figure by Australian ballot on Tuesday.
The Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union business manager this week released tax estimates that show Leicester school taxes would decrease slightly if this budget is approved.
Because the OVUU school 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 Leicester voters will also vote on the Leicester School District budget and the OVUHS budget, but as long as the Otter Valley Unified Union budget passes, those votes will be irrelevant.

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