FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh residents on Tuesday chose a new selectman and treasurer, returned their town clerk and another selectman to office, and supported the first-ever Addison Northwest School District budget, which passed overall.
At Saturday’s town meeting, town residents approved selectboard spending proposals — with two amendments — that included the purchase of a new, fully equipped $190,000 tandem dump truck.
Two of the contested races involved incumbent Treasurer Garrit Smits, who has faced criticism from the Ferrisburgh selectboard, auditors and fellow employees.
Current auditor Deb Healey defeated Smits in the treasurer’s race, 531-82.
Smits’ other race was a rematch of sorts: He won the treasurer’s job in 2014 in a close contest with Town Clerk Gloria Warden. This time he filed to run against Warden for the clerk’s job, but she brushed aside the challenge, 571-60.
It is possible Healey and Warden will be the last elected to the two jobs: The Ferrisburgh selectboard is moving to write the town’s first charter, one that if eventually approved by voters and the Legislature would make the positions appointed, not elected. The charter was a topic at town meeting on Saturday morning, and Selectboard Chairwoman Loretta Lawrence said residents were receptive to the proposal.
In the contested race for the selectboard, Rick Ebel defeated Dennis Armell, 362-197, for an opening created when longtime Selectman Jim Warden chose not to run for re-election. Warden was honored on Saturday. Selectman Jim Benoit was returned to the board without opposition.
Also returned to office without opposition were Vergennes Union High School director George Gardner and Ferrisburgh Central School directors Laurie Gutowski, Brad Hargett and Chris Kayhart. Those boards will do little business this year as the ANWSD board takes over, and the VUHS and FCS boards will officially dissolve at the end of 2016.
Voters backed the Ferrisburgh selectboard’s $1,850,100 budget proposal, but not before adding $8,491 in support for the Bixby Library in Vergennes, boosting that line item from $52,559 to $ 61,050. Lawrence said there was “lively discussion” on the question, and that some residents asked for more information on the library’s service to Ferrisburgh.
That figure also does not include an estimated $41,000 for the first year’s payments on the $190,000 truck and equipment, or $32,778 in charitable requests backed by voters.
Voters also backed a measure to start a Conservation Fund, and increased its funding by $50 to $550.
The selectboard chose to apply $66,000 of an audited $216,000 surplus from the 2016 fiscal year toward tax reduction.
Overall, ANWSD residents backed the proposed first-ever unified union budget of $21,116,289 by 924-699. In Ferrisburgh the vote ran in favor, 396-250, for a plan that will support the four ANWSD schools and its central office, plus the district’s share of the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center budget.
Ferrisburgh residents also joined their peers in other ANWSD towns in supporting the creation of a $100,000 capital improvement fund by an overall margin of 1,008-608. The vote in Ferrisburgh ran 400-235 in favor.
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