2018 Middlebury town meeting preview

MIDDLEBURY — Hotly contested races for selectboard and the Ilsley Library Board of Trustees will headline an otherwise low-key town meeting in Middlebury next week.
Incumbent Selectman Farhad Khan, former Selectman Gary Baker and resident Lindsey Fuentes-George are competing for two available three-year terms on the selectboard.
Incumbent John Freidin and fellow Middlebury residents Joseph McVeigh, Amy Mincher and David Munford are competing for two available three-year terms on the Ilsley Library board. In a separate bracket, Patricia Chatary, incumbent Barbara Doyle-Wilch and Alice Eckles will vie in a runoff for one available one-year term on the library board.
Middlebury residents will consider a fiscal year 2019 municipal budget of $10,574,426, of which $7,331,905 would be raised through local property taxes. It’s a proposed spending plan that would result in an increase of about one-third of one penny in the community’s current municipal rate of 98.2 cents.
It continues a pattern of what have essentially been level-funded municipal budget requests during much of the past decade.
Major financial drivers for the proposed budget include a combined $184,790 increase in contracted salaries and benefits for municipal employees, and a $57,484 bump in investments in town roads, bridges, culverts and other capital projects. Voters — through a separate article on the town meeting warning — will be asked to apply $57,484 in local option tax surplus to pay for the proposed bump in capital improvements.
Aside from the budget and local option tax surplus votes, the warning features only one other notable item — a selectboard request to borrow up to $122,400 over five years to replace a police cruiser, a street sweeper, a skid steer and an asphalt hot box.
Middlebury 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 Middlebury 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.
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.
The annual meeting will be held on Monday, March 5, at 7 p.m. at Mary Hogan Elementary School. Australian ballot voting will take place the next day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the town offices at 77 Main St.

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