2018 Brandon town meeting preview

BRANDON — There are no challengers for town board seats Brandon, but voters will have plenty of money issues to decide next week.
When Brandon residents gather at 7 p.m. on Monday at Brandon Town Hall for town meeting, there will mostly be presentations for money items decided by Australian ballot on Tuesday. Residents will vote on whether to exempt the Stephen A. Douglas Birthplace from education and municipal taxes.
The next day at the polls, residents will weigh in on a proposed municipal budget of $3,138,185, which represents and increase over this year of $138,199 or 4.6 percent. That budget would require property taxes of $2,578,045, which is less than $20,000 more than the current year, or about 0.7 percent.
Brandon taxpayers will be asked to approve a $1.4 million bond to pay for long-awaited repairs on historic Park Street. Town officials said the amount to be bonded should be much less because grants are expected to offset some of that sum.
Park Street, which is also Route 73 to Marble Street, will be resurfaced in 2020 by the Vermont Agency of Transportation, which is repaving all of Route 73 over the Brandon Gap and down to Brandon. But before that happens, the town plans to replace and improve the water, wastewater, and stormwater systems under the dilapidated road.
Voters will be asked to OK $100,000 for road paving. There are 13 appropriations on the ballot, the largest of which are $95,000 for the Brandon Free Public Library, $20,735 for the Brandon Area Rescue Squad and $13,500 for the Brandon Senior Citizens Center.
Also at the polls, Brandon will vote on the budget for  Otter Valley Unified Union School District, which includes the towns of Brandon, Goshen, Pittsford, Sudbury, Leicester and Whiting. Voters will be asked to approve $19,223,835 OVUUSD spending plan, which represents a roughly $550,000 cut in spending, or 1.22 percent, from the current budget.
The proposed budget calls for Whiting Elementary School to become a preschool center. Sudbury and Leicester schools will split kindergarten through third grade at one school and grades four to six at the other, although a decision has not been made about which will host which grades.
An original proposal to merge Brandon’s Neshobe Elementary and Pittsford’s Lothrop Elementary was nixed based on pushback from parents and staff.
Brandon is also casting ballots on a representative to the OVUUS board. Barry Varian is the one candidate for the Brandon representative on the board. Voters can also vote for a three-year at-large seat on the board; current occupant Greg Bernhardt is the only name on the ballot.
There are no challengers for town board seats on the Town Meeting Day ballot in Brandon and only one new face. Newcomer Laura Miner is running for Trustee of Public Funds, replacing longtime trustee Carolyn Whittaker, who is stepping down after many years of service.
Selectmen Seth Hopkins and Brian Coolidge are each running uncontested for re-election to one-year terms. Selectman Tracy Wyman is running for re-election to a three-year term.
Bill Moore is once again running for town moderator for a one-year term. Sharron Kenney is running for re-election as library trustee.

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