STARKSBORO — Starksboro voted in December to increase its selectboard from three to five persons. So on Town Meeting Day, residents, voting by Australian ballot, elected two new selectboard members and also returned an incumbent to the selectboard. Koran Cousino, Keegan Tierney and returning selectman Peter Marsh will join incumbents Susan Jefferies and Tony Porter on Starksboro’s newly expanded selectboard.
Cousino defeated Jeff Dunham, 308 to 63, for a new one-year seat. Marsh defeated Dan Baker, 102 to 270, for a two-year seat. And Tierney ran unchallenged for a three-year term on the Starksboro selectboard.
Reached the day before elections, selectboard Chair Susan Jefferies said the board was “happy to see so many people running” for the new positions, especially because many had doubted that the town would be able to field enough candidates to fill the new positions.
Starksboro had no other contested races. Officials elected unopposed included incumbents Louis DuPont for Robinson school director, Dan Dubenetsky for town and school moderator, and Judith Kessler and Chris Runcie for library trustee. Several positions remain unfilled including one position for school director, positions for first and second constable, and one position for auditor; the selectboard could fill those,
Also on Town Meeting Day, Starksboro together with the other four towns of the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union approved the $12,261,839 Mount Abraham Union High School spending plan, 1,333 to 796, with all ballots commingled. The Mount Abe spending represents an 8.42 percent decrease from the current academic year. That budget includes $1 million to fix the aging Mount Abe building.
Starksboro decided all other matters from the floor of town meeting this past Saturday, March 4.
All articles voted at Saturday’s meeting passed as proposed with one exception: the article stating the due date for property taxes. The statement “Taxes may be paid in installments on Aug. 1, Sept. 1, and Nov. 1, 2017” was struck from article 11 after Starksboro Treasurer Celine Coons explained that this provision had led to a series of administrative headaches when several big mortgage companies didn’t automatically pay subsequent outstanding installments.
Jefferies noted that even without that wording, the town would continue to accept payments from persons wishing to pay all or part of their property taxes early.
At Saturday’s meeting, Starksboro residents approved a general fund spending plan of $1,065,911. The Starksboro Public Library was funded at $27,450.
Voters authorized the selectboard to borrow up to $290,000 to purchase a new tanker. The loan would be repaid from the Fire Equipment Reserve Fund. Jefferies explained that the new tanker would have greater capacity, be non-rusting and have a heater to prevent pipes from freezing so that it could work even in sub-zero weather. The current tanker was purchased in 1986, Jefferies said.
Voters agreed to pay $44,653 into the Fire Equipment Reserve fund and $88,849 into the Road Equipment Reserve fund; they also created a new cash reserve for paving and authorized $40,000 to go into this new fund.
Six in-town agencies were allotted a total of $40,925, including payments to:
• Starksboro Volunteer Fire Department, $22,000.
• Starksboro First Response, $9,500.
• Starksboro Cooperative Preschool, $4,500.
• Robinson Mentoring Program, $2,000.
Twenty-five out-of-town agencies were allotted a total of $29,588.
Also on Saturday, Starksboro voters approved the Robinson Elementary School budget from the floor for the last time. Jefferies said that the $2,721,254 elementary school spending plan passed handily and that most discussion centered around what changes to expect in the upcoming year as schools in the five towns unify into one school district. Next year spending for all ANeSU elementary schools will be voted on by Australian ballot as part of a single ANESD district-wide budget. ANESD becomes effective July 1, 2018.
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