WHITING — Residents of Whiting who gathered in town hall Tuesday evening for town meeting approved a municipal spending plan that featured an increase in the amount needed to be raised by taxes, but the most closely contested question of the night was who would serve the small town as its delinquent tax collector. In the only paper ballot vote at the meeting, town auditor Rani Fallon defeated incumbent Marilyn Chicoine, 19-17, for the tax collector job. So that there won’t be a conflict between the new post and the auditor’s duties, Fallon had to resign as auditor. With no replacement nominated, the selectboard will appoint someone to serve as auditor until next year’s town meeting.
Whiting Town Clerk Gail Quenneville said it looks like next Tuesday evening’s town meeting could be short and sweet, but there will be several important decisions made and discussions had at the meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at Whiting Town Hall.
Residents also OK’d the $351,923 town spending plan, as proposed. It will require raising $227,941 in taxes. The spending proposal represents a 3.6 percent decline from the figure approved last year but the amount to be raised from taxes would rise $65,492, or about 40 percent.
Other town officials nominated and elected from the floor of Tuesday’s town meeting included Selectman Steve Quenneville, who was re-elected to a three-year term. Tara Trudo, who had been appointed as a selectboard member, was elected on Tuesday to fill the last two years of a three-year term on the board.
In other elections, Paul Quesnel was tapped as town juror and Heather Bouchard elected town agent.
Town Clerk and Town Treasurer Gail Quenneville was re-elected to three-year terms for each post. Elizabeth Curran, who came on the short end of a race for town moderator last year, this year was elected to a one-year-term as moderator; Quenneville said she did a nice job leading the meeting Tuesday.
The selectboard led a discussion of a possible ordinance that would allow ATVs on secondary and tertiary roads.
In discussion about what to do with the structural problems at the original fire department building, it was it was suggested that if it was replaced, a new building could include an extra bay for the town truck and payloader.
Resident Randy Kritkausky asked that the town support the following statement: “The town of Whiting would like to express its appreciation for the work that those with temporary and ambiguous work status provide for our region’s farms, orchards and the hospitality industry. We encourage Vermont state officials to do whatever is possible, within the bounds of the law, to support these workers.” In a non-binding vote, the town approved the statement.
Lastly, Erin Morrison talked at town meeting about the “Lets Grow Kids” movement, encouraging quality and affordable childcare, as well as supporting childcare workers with a living wage. There was a Let’s Grow Kids petition offered to sign after the meeting.
Via Australian ballot on Tuesday, residents weighed in on the Otter Valley Unified Union School District budget and elected three at-large members of the OVUUSD school board. Voters in the school district, which includes Whiting, Goshen, Leicester, Brandon, Sudbury and Pittsford, a $19,772,608 spending plan, 635-438. The plan represents $14,708 per equalized student, a 1.4 percent increase from the 2016 fiscal year.
In the only contested race for school board, Barbara Ebbing of Brandon won a seat over Eileen Guyette of Pittsford, 567-413. Ebbing will finish the remaining two years on a three-year seat; plus Emily Nelson and Matt Philo both won election to fill two three-year seats.
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