Vergennes City Meeting Preview 2019

VERGENNES — With no contested races on the ballot, the major decision facing Vergennes voters on March 5 will be whether to support the proposed $22,139,341 Addison Northwest School District spending plan.
City residents will cast their ballots between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, at the Vergennes Fire Department on Green Street. They may also gather at the Vergennes Opera House at 7:30 p.m. on Monday to discuss city business with Vergennes officials.
Residents in Vergennes and the other four ANWSD communities will be voting on a 2019-2020 spending plan to fund the ANWSD schools and the district share of Hannaford Career Center operations that would increase spending by about $1.03 million, or about 4.7 percent. This proposed increase follows a year of level funding.
School officials estimated in four of the five ANWSD communities — including Vergennes — 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 district students next year.
In Panton, the only town with a Common Level of Appraisal below 100 percent (96.8), the final number will be slightly higher than in the other communities.
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.
On the city ballot, incumbent John Stroup and newcomer Keith Morrill are running unopposed for two seats on the 12-member ANWSD board.
On the city side, Mayor Renny Perry decided not to seek a full term in office this March. Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz filed for the two-year term as mayor, and is unopposed.
Also unopposed are elected incumbent Vergennes Aldermen Mark Koenig and Lowell Bertrand; incumbent Aldermen David Austin and David Small, who were appointed to council vacancies in 2018 and are looking for voter approval to finish second years of terms; and former mayor and council member Bill Benton, who filed for an open seat.
The Vergennes City Council will craft the city’s 2019-2020 budget in June.

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