2016 Monkton Town Meeting Preview

MONKTON — For the first time, Monkton will hold its annual town meeting on the Saturday preceding Town Meeting Day rather than on the first Tuesday in March. Monkton townspeople will convene for the town meeting on Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Monkton Central School at 10 a.m.
The Monkton Annual School Meeting will be even earlier. Monkton folks are invited to the Central School on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. for that event.
Voting by Australian ballot for some town and school issues and candidates will take place Tuesday, March 1, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Monkton Fire Station.
At the March 2015 town meeting, Monkton residents amended a proposed article to move town meeting to the Monday immediately preceding Town Meeting Day and instead voted to hold town meeting on Saturday in hopes to build greater participation.
Bridport, Panton, Whiting, Granville and Hancock are among the handful of Addison County towns that continue to hold town meeting on the official Town Meeting Day.
At Saturday’s meeting, the selectboard is asking voters to approve $1,250,194 to pay for municipal and road expenditures. The largest component of that budget is $790,132 for highway expenses; and $348,512 would be earmarked for salaries and general expenses. Other expenditures would be:
• $36,000 for the Monkton Volunteer Fire Department.
• $20,150 for Russell Memorial Library.
• $900 for the Monkton Museum and Historical Society.
• $4,500 for the recreation fund.
• $20,000 for the agricultural and natural areas fund.
• $30,000 for the highway capital equipment fund.
Overall, these municipal expenditures are up 6.9 percent from the current fiscal year’s total of $1,169,920, with increases in expenditures to salaries and general expenses, highway expenses, the fire department, and the agricultural and natural areas fund.
Proposed spending for social service agencies remains identical, with the exception of an increase for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program from $285 to $400 and a new funding of $300 for the Monkton Mentors Program. The total proposed for social service agencies is $22,539, up $415 from last year.
Other articles to be voted on from the floor include $34,000 for the purchase of a replacement dump truck body for the road crew.
When voters go to the polls on Tuesday, they will be asked to approve a Monkton Central School budget of $2,813,920, a decrease of 0.1 percent from last year’s $2,816,780 spending plan. This year’s proposed budget represents spending per equalized pupil of $15,137, a 3.9 percent decrease. The state had originally assigned Monkton an Act 46 allowable growth percentage of 1.43 percent; this was then raised to 2.33 on Jan. 30. Both before and after the change in legislation, the proposed budget avoids the Act 46 tax penalties.
At press time, homestead tax rates were still up in the air statewide, as the Agency of Education continues to await clarification from legislators on how Act 46 affects the “property dollar equivalent yield” used to calculate the homestead rate.
Monkton residents will also vote by Australian ballot to accept or reject the proposed $13,389,914 budget for Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School and the $3,521,263 proposed spending for the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center.
There are no contested local elections on this year’s ballot.
On the selectboard, incumbent Roger Parker is running again for a three-year seat, and incumbent Henry Boisse is running again for a two-year seat.
All candidates for the Monkton Central School Board are also unchallenged incumbents. Robert Radler is up for a three-year term; and both Marikate Kelley and Sarah Rougier are running again for one-year terms.
Dawn Griswold, chair of the Mount Abe board, is running unchallenged for a second three-year term on that board. Otto Funke, who was appointed to the Mount Abe board to replace Shawna Sherwin after she resigned last October, is running to complete the remaining two years of Sherwin’s original term.
Sharon Gomez is running unopposed for another one-year term as town and school clerk. William Joos is running unopposed for another one-year term as town and school treasurer and another one-year term as delinquent tax collector.

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