VERGENNES — A race for mayor between two-term incumbent Bill Benton and former three-term mayor Mike Daniels highlights the March 7 Town Meeting Day ballot in Vergennes.
Voting at the city’s Green Street fire station will run from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7.
The city’s annual meeting to discuss issues will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 6, at the Vergennes Opera House, preceded by a dessert-and-beverage social gathering beginning at 7 p.m.
No other races are contested. Incumbent Vergennes City Council members Lowell Bertrand, Jeff Fritz and Mark Koenig are all seeking re-election in March without opposition, as are candidates for Vergennes-Panton water commissioner, lister and auditor.
The members of the Addison Northwest School District board that will assume control of a unified union on July 1 were chosen in March 2016, but the boards that are now operating the supervisory union will still operate until the end of the calendar year.
In Vergennes, Chris Cousino is running unopposed for the Vergennes Union High School board, as is Sue Rakowski for the Vergennes Union Elementary School board. But an incumbent VUHS director did not seek election. If no successful write-in candidate emerges for that seat, the city council can appoint someone to fill the vacancy.
Vergennes residents will also join other Addison Northwest School District residents in Australian balloting voting on the proposed first-ever unified union budget of $21,116,289 to support the four ANWSD schools and its central office, plus the district’s share of the Hannaford Career Center budget.
That plan calls for a 1.68 percent increase over current district-wide ANWSD spending, but is slightly less than the 2015-2016 district spending total of $21,159,752.
Late-spring actions by the Legislature could change statewide tax rates, but according to ANWSD estimates using rates initially recommended by state officials there could be a 1.3-cent increase in the city’s residential school tax rate if the proposed budget is adopted. 
A 1.3-cent increase, independent of the impact of any change in the municipal tax rate needed to support town services, translates to a $26 higher tax bill on a $200,000 home.
The only other items on the city’s ballot are the list of requested charitable contributions to nonprofits that serve city and county residents.
Vergennes residents, unlike their peers in every other county community, do not weigh in on their municipal budget. The city council, per the city charter, sets the budget and the tax rate needed to support municipal spending on or before June 30. 

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