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Addison Town Meeting Preview 2019

ADDISON — Addison residents on Town Meeting Day will decide a contested race for a selectboard seat, weigh in on proposed town spending that would create only a slight increase on the municipal portion of the Addison tax rate, and vote on two other spending articles related to infrastructure.
Voters can discuss the ballot measures at the annual town meeting to be held at the Addison Central School, beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 4.
Financial issues and election of officials will be decided by Australian ballot on Tuesday. Voting will be held from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5.
While longtime board member Steve Torrey is running unopposed to return to the selectboard, two-term incumbent Peter Briggs is facing a challenge for a two-year term from Alden Harwood.
Briggs is a farmer who has also mounted challenges for the Vermont House and Senate as a Republican.
Harwood until recently worked seven years as the director of facilities of the Mount Abraham Unified School District. In the past he has served as Addison’s zoning administrator, and in 2004 he ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign for Addison delinquent tax collector.
Addison residents will vote on proposed general fund ($346,311) and highway ($764,136) spending and charitable contributions ($58,206) — all of which will be voted on separately.
They total $1,168,653 add up to less than a 1 percent increase, or about $8,800, over current levels.
Currently a penny on the Addison tax rate raises about $22,000, and even with no grand list growth that increase will not have much of an impact on the municipal portion of the town’s tax rate.
Two separate articles on the March 5 ballot could push spending higher in the future if approved.
The selectboard is seeking support for a five-year loan to pay for a $125,000 culvert needed on Goodrich Corners Road and for a 15-year loan to fund a new $175,000 salt-and-sand shed. Town officials said a new shed is necessary to meet state requirements.
Residents in Addison and the other four Addison Northwest School District communities will also vote on a 2019-2020 spending plan of $22,139,341 to fund the ANWSD schools and the district share of Hannaford Career Center operations.
After a year of level funding, that proposed budget would increase spending by about $1.03 million, or about 4.7 percent.
School officials estimated in four of the five communities — including Addison — school tax rates might rise by about 9 cents, but said that number could move up or down depending on decisions made in Montpelier or the final number of ANWSD students next year.
Declining enrollment and rising costs are driving the tax rate higher. School administrators said increases are being driven by the cost of health benefits rising by 11.8 percent, salaries for teachers and support staff that expected to rise once ongoing negotiations for new contracts conclude, and transportation costs going up by 13 percent.

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