Ferrisburgh town meeting wrap-up 2018

FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh residents at Saturday’s town meeting supported town spending, including a major equipment purchase, and in Tuesday’s Australian balloting chose a new selectboard member and backed Addison Northwest School District bond and budget proposals.
The Ferrisburgh selectboard race was created because Chairwoman Loretta Lawrence chose to step down after 17 years on that board, a tenure that followed seven years on the Ferrisburgh zoning board.
Winning the Tuesday race for Lawrence’s seat was Jessica James, a first-time candidate, fourth-generation Ferrisburgh resident and University of Vermont graduate who has worked for the past six years as a legal secretary and administrative assistant for Ouimette and Runcie in Vergennes. She defeated Dennis Armell, 376-135.
Armell, a retired former full-time Vermont Army National Guard employee and 10-year member of the Ferrisburgh Conservation Commission, was making his third run for the selectboard.
Incumbent Selectman Michael “Red” Muir ran unopposed on Tuesday, as did incumbent ANWSD board members Kristina MacKulin and Finn Yarbrough.
Residents on Saturday morning at Ferrisburgh Central School approved spending proposals by voice vote.  
They backed the selectboard’s proposal for a roughly $1.935 million town budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year that will raise spending by about 4.1 percent, including the charitable contributions that were also supported.
Residents also supported two more financial measures that will boost municipal spending by another roughly 1.8 percent: a $115,000 purchase of a loader at $23,000 a year, plus interest, for five years, and an increase in the highway department contingency fund by $10,000 to $40,000.
The increases due to all those decisions will total roughly $110,000 more than this year’s spending, which officials estimated will translate to about 3 cents more on the Ferrisburgh municipal tax rate.
On Tuesday, Ferrisburgh voters backed the proposed $21.1 million ANWSD budget, 369-185. It won overall, 952-551.
School officials estimated that budget could increase the tax rate in ANWSD communities by about 8 cents, depending on final legislative decisions. 
The ANWSD tax rate increases would mean around $80 of additional taxes per $100,000 of assessed value for those property owners who pay based solely on the value of their homes. About two-thirds of area residents pay based on their income and would get prebates.
Ferrisburgh voters also backed a $7.63 million ANWSD bond proposal, 360-194. It won approval overall, 987-515. Board members said the bond would pay for a critical list of energy efficiency, fire safety and security problems at all four district schools.
Board members have emphasized the bond will not increase taxes due to savings through the energy improvements and because payments on the bond that funded the 2000 VUHS renovation and expansion will soon end.

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