2016 Orwell Town Meeting Preview

ORWELL — Town officials in Orwell shouldn’t have to field a lot of questions about the municipal budget proposal they are putting before voters at town meeting next Tuesday morning, but another item on the town meeting warning will likely draw a good deal of discussion.
Residents will consider a $978,950 municipal budget that is only $4,000 (less than half a percent) larger than the spending plan voters approved last year. They will also weigh a request for $160,000 for a tandem dump truck to replace an 11-year-old truck currently used by the Orwell road crew — those in the know said that extra money for the dump truck will raise some questions.
That discussion at the Orwell Town Meeting, which begins at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at the Orwell Town Hall, will follow discussion of the proposed school budget at the annual school meeting, slated for 7 p.m. on Monday at the town hall. A major point of consideration at that meeting will be the school spending plan, pegged at $1,942,025. That represents an increase of $132,619, or 7.3 percent, over the figure approved for the current school year.
Orwell residents will see only one contested election in Australian ballot voting at the town hall between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Selectman Bob Fields is running for re-election to a two-year term, and is being challenged for that spot by James A. Oldenburg Sr. and Daniel Redondo.
Selectman Walker James is running unopposed for a three-year term on the selectboard. Elizabeth “Betty” Walker, who was appointed town clerk late last fall after Susan Ann Arnebold retired after 20 years as Orwell town clerk, will seek voter approval to remain in that post.

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