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2018 Orwell town meeting preview

ORWELL — On big-ticket item that Orwell residents will decide at town meeting on Tuesday is pretty typical for small Vermont towns — whether to purchase a big new truck.
Article 5 at the town meeting, which will begin at 10 a.m. at the Orwell Town Hall, asks voters to approve $165,900 on a five-year loan at 2.75 percent interest for a 2019 Mack tandem truck with equipment.
Those who come to the meeting will also decide whether to adopt proposed town spending of $1,126,833. That figure represents and increase of $84,149, or 8 percent, over the current year. Selectman Ted Simmons said two drivers of the increase are the payment of an Orwell Rescue Squad vehicle (last year’s payment was a separate article on the warning) and the ever-declining payments from the Agency of Natural Resources, Highway Aid and other state funds.
There are also requests for appropriations from five civic organizations, including the Wright Library Building ($14,000), books for the library ($3,500), St. Paul’s Cemetery ($200), Parade Committee ($2,100) and Sixty-Plus Club ($750).
Eighteen town officials are up for election by Australian ballot. Among them are selectboard members Thomas Audet and Paula Barnes, school directors Robert Quesnel and Sarah Tetzlaff, Town Clerk Betty Walker and Town Treasurer Mark Young. All are unopposed.
The Orwell Town School District Meeting will be held Monday night in the same venue at 7 p.m. Tops on their agenda is a school budget; voters will weigh in on proposed spending of $2,170,400. That figure is $237,223, or 12 percent higher than spending approved for this year. Spending per equalized pupil would also go up, from $13,785 in 2017-2018, to $15,087 in 2018-2019, which represents a 9.9 percent hike.
That per pupil spending figure would rise a little more if voters also approve a separate $20,000 appropriation to pay for preliminary design and cost estimate for a new facility.

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