Middlebury Town Meeting Preview 2019

MIDDLEBURY — Residents at the Middlebury town meeting will be asked to decide a proposed 2019-2020 municipal budget of $11,155,400, support petitioned resolutions relating to climate change and reducing the local waste stream, and will choose from at least five candidates vying for three Middlebury seats on the Addison Central School District (ACSD) board.
Middlebury voters will field a 13-article town meeting warning, six articles of which will be decided at the annual town meeting on Monday, March 4, at 7 p.m. at Middlebury Union High School. The balance of the warning — to include a variety of municipal and school elections — will be resolved by Australian ballot voting on Tuesday, March 5, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the own offices.
Middlebury residents will be asked to approve an $11,155,400 municipal spending plan for July 1, 2019 to June 20, 2020, of which $7,836,854 will be raised by taxes. If voters endorse the board’s additional recommendation that residents apply $400,000 in excess local option tax revenues to draw down capital improvement expenses, the proposed municipal budget would add 2.5 cents to the current municipal rate of 98.36 cents per $100 in property value.
There are a couple of contested elections on the March 5 ballot.
Incumbent Ilsley Public Library Trustees Alice Eckles and Catherine Nichols face competition from Joe McVeigh in a three-person race for two available three-year terms.
And there’s a five-person race for three Middlebury seats on the ACSD board. The race for those three-year terms involves incumbents James Malcolm, Lorraine Gonzalez Morse, Steve Orzech, and challengers Betty Kafumbe and Ryan Torres.
All other elections on the ballot are uncontested. They conclude incumbent Middlebury selectboard members Heather Seeley, Nick Artim and Victor Nuovo, for three-year terms; Susan Shashok, one-year, as town moderator; Gary Baker, one year, as lister; Beth Dow, three years, as lister; and Amy McGlashan and Mary Cullinane, three-year terms representing Ripton and Weybridge, respectively, on the ACSD board.
Other notable articles included on the 2019 Middlebury town meeting warning ask voters to:
•  Allow the selectboard to take out a five-year loan of up to $310,000 to replace several municipal vehicles, including a police cruiser and related equipment, dump truck/snow plow and related equipment, and a pick-up truck for the Recreation Department.
•  Direct the selectboard to write a letter to state officials — including local House and Senate members — to support a “350VT Climate Solutions Resolution” that urges Vermont to halt any new or expanded fossil fuel infrastructure including, but not limited to, transmission pipelines and electrical plants; adhere to the state’s Comprehensive Energy Plan to achieve 90-percent renewable energy by 2050, with firm interim deadlines; and to ensure the transition to renewable energy is “fair and equitable for all residents, with no harm to marginalized groups or rural communities.”
•  Support another climate solution resolution offered by 350VT that seeks a commitment to weatherize town buildings and schools, while installing rooftop solar panels on town and school buildings; take initiatives to reduce overall energy use while committing to improving the quality of life for residents; encourage landowners, farmers and other municipalities to implement practices that build the “soil carbon sponge” to cool the planet and mitigate flooding and drought; and actively look for opportunities to request or apply for support from the state to implement the above initiatives.
•  Appropriate $3,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Addison County to support its affordable housing efforts.
•  “Advise and encourage” the selectboard to enact a new law asking stores to stop giving customers single-use, carry-out plastic bags to take away food or merchandise.
•  Authorize the selectboard to add as much as $100,000 to an existing loan to pay for second-floor improvements to the Memorial Sports Center, and to extend that loan duration by five years. Friends of Middlebury Hockey group will pay off all loan debt through fees, sponsorships and fund drives for the sports center.
Proposed 2019-2020 spending for Middlebury’s Mary Hogan Elementary School will be reflected in a global Addison Central School District budget that voters will field on March 5. That budget proposal is for $37,794,916, to fund Middlebury Union middle and high schools, the ACSD central office and the seven member elementary schools in Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge. The proposed ACSD budget reflects a 1.9-percent increase in local education spending and a 3.35-percent boost in spending per equalized pupil, compared to the current year.
Officials can’t yet estimate the impact the ACSD budget will have on Middlebury’s homestead education property tax rate. That’s because Middlebury is in the process of a townwide reappraisal of properties, and the school tax calculation must reflect the latest Common Level of Appraisal statistics.
Middlebury’s current education property tax rate of $1.5783.

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