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Bridport

BRIDPORT — Bridport residents at their town meeting on Tuesday will be asked to fund repairs to a local bridge and decide two contested races for their local selectboard.
Residents David Bronson, Tim Howlett and Michael Lawton are vying for a three-year term on the selectboard. Meanwhile, incumbent Jerry Forbes faces opposition from Matthew Lawton for another three-year term on the panel.
Selectmen are seeking voter permission to spend up to $325,000 to replace the Sunderland Bridge on Crown Point Road. The deck of the bridge is deteriorating and needs to be replaced, according to town officials. The selectboard has applied for a $175,000 state grant to reduce the town’s outlay for the work. It should be noted that any funds spent on the Sunderland Bridge repairs will be taken from accumulated surplus funds, meaning no new taxes will need to be raised for the project.
Voters will be asked to come up with a combined total of $1,009,815 in taxes to subsidize town and public works services for fiscal year 2018. Last year, residents OK’d, by voice vote, a combined town-highway budget that required a property tax levy of $947,144.
For the first time in many decades, Bridport residents will not decide a local school budget on Town Meeting Day. They — along with other voters in the newly unified Addison Central School District (ACSD) — will instead decide a K-12 budget for the entire seven-town district.
The proposed ACSD budget for 2017-2018 calls for approximately $37.7 million in spending to cover the combined operating costs for all nine district schools. The budget reflects $30,428,802 in net, local education spending, which represents a 0.60-percent decrease compared to this year, according to ACSD officials.
Bridport’s homestead education property tax rate is projected to decline from the current $1.82 per $100 in property value to $1.580, according to the ACSD budget presentation.
In other Town Meeting Day action, Bridport voters will be asked to:
•  Support various Addison County social service agency requests totaling $22,500.
•  Spend $12,500 next year in support of their local fire department.
•  Earmark $8,000 for the Town Line First Response service.
•  Decide a variety of elections in which candidates are running unopposed this year. They include Suzanne Buck, who has no competition for a three-year term on the Addison Central School District board. Buck is also unopposed for a 10-month term on the Bridport School Board. That local board will go out of existence at the end of this year as the ACSD gradually assumes all responsibilities for K-12 public education throughout the district.
Bridport town meeting will begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 7, at the Bridport Community Hall/Masonic Lodge. Australian ballot voting will take place the same day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., also at the community hall.

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