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2018 Bridport town meeting preview

BRIDPORT — Bridport residents at their town meeting will decide a contested race for their selectboard and will be asked to invest in two major construction projects in their community.
David Bronson and Bruce Stocker are vying for a three-year term on the selectboard. There are no other contested elections on the ballot.
Town officials are asking voter approval to spend up to $340,000 to replace the Sunderland Bridge on Crown Point Road. The request is contingent on the town receiving $175,000 in state money to go along with $165,000 in local funds to finance the project.
The selectboard is also asking residents’ permission to spend up to $85,812 toward replacing the Basin Harbor culvert located at the west branch of Dead Creek. Officials plan to use accumulated reserves from a recent storm mitigation grant to cover its $85,812 share of the $429,160 project.
Voters will be asked to OK $958,736 and $280,558 for the local public works and general fund budgets, respectively. That amounts to a combined total of $1,239,294, of which $1,081,259 is to be derived from local taxes. Last year, those combined budgets required a local tax levy of $1,009,815, so that represents a 7 percent increase in taxes collected.
Other articles on the 2018 warning seek:
•  $23,500 to help pay for painting the local salt shed, Hearse House and Masonic/Community Hall, as well as replacing lights at the town garage through the Efficiency Vermont program. The article also calls for the purchase of a new stove for the Masonic/Community Hall. Officials propose to tap some accumulated budget surplus funds to apply to the cost of the above projects.
•  A combined total of $45,273 for the Bridport Volunteer Fire Department and a variety of Addison County-based social service agencies that help local residents.
Bridport residents are part of the consolidated Addison Central School District that delivers K-12 public education to seven Middlebury-area towns. Those residents will vote on a 2018-2019 ACSD budget of $36,762,479, which reflects a 1.32 percent spending decrease, the elimination of more than 20 full-time-equivalent jobs, and a spending rate of $16,907.29 per equalized pupil.
The town of Bridport is among the Addison County communities served by the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center. So residents will vote on a proposed 2018-2019 PHCC budget of $3,498,524, which reflects a spending rate of $21,466 per full-time equivalent student. That FTE student spending rate is 6.47 percent higher than this year’s.
Those running unopposed in local elections this year include Michael Lawton, two years, selectboard; James Walker, three years, water commissioner; and James Craig Sr., one year, first constable.
Four candidates are running at-large for the ACSD board. All are unopposed. The candidates are incumbent Peter Conlon of Cornwall, Devina Desmarais and Margaret “Peg” Martin of Middlebury, and Jori Jacobeit of Shoreham.
Bridport’s annual meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 6, at 10:30 a.m. at the Masonic/Community Hall. Australian ballot voting will take place that same day and location, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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