Orwell Town Meeting Preview 2019

ORWELL — Come Town Meeting Day residents of Orwell will have some ballots to cast.
Residents will vote by Australian ballot on 17 town officials, with three contested races: Incumbent Alyson Audet Eastman faces Dan Redondo for a three-year term as a school director; Bill Goddard and Karl Thomsen are both running for a two-year seat on the selectboard that Walker James has held for 31 years (he’s stepping down, see story on Page 2A); and Louis Hall and Diane Jackson are vying for a one-year term as first constable.
Residents in all Slate Valley Unified Union School District (SVUUSD) towns vote for directors in all the towns. There is a race in Castleton, where Liz MacKay and Timothy Smith are running for the board seat representing that town.
Those running unopposed for Orwell town offices include selectman Dave Larsen, who seeks a return to a two-year seat on the selectboard, and Glen Cousineau, who wishes to return to the SVUUSD board.
Also being voted on by Australian ballot from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at town hall, will be an SVUU proposed education budget of $26,493,638, which works out to $16,074 per equalized pupil. Changes to Orwell’s land use rules proposed by the town planning commission are also up for a vote by Australian ballot; according to the warning the changes “correct, improve and make clearer definitions in the document.”
Residents will be asked to approve a proposed town spending plan of $1,098,232.25. That is $28,601, or 2.5 percent, less than the $1,126,833 approved by voters last year.
The amount to be raised by taxes to play for proposed municipal spending is $735,677, which is $29,012 (or 3.8 percent) less than the amount approved in 2018.
They will also give the up or down on several town spending items; the big-ticket items are $378,000 for a 2019 HME Commercial Chassis Pumper (fire truck) to be financed over 10 years, and $52,000 for a 2019 Chevy Silverado 3500HD one-ton pickup truck with a plow and dump body to be financed over three years.
In a vote of all six SVUUSD towns this past November, Orwell was voted into the broader school district, which oversees governance of all elementary and secondary schools in the district. The Orwell Town School District will hold its annual meeting on Monday, March 4, at 7 p.m. in the Orwell Town Hall. The only thing on the agenda of note is that the public is asked to act on the report of the town school district officers.

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