Brandon Town Meeting results 2019

BRANDON — On Tuesday, 710 residents came to the polls in Brandon to vote on a proposed town budget and decide the only contested selectboard race.
Selectboard members Seth Hopkins and Brian Coolidge were re-elected after running unopposed for their seats. Tim Guiles was the victor in a two-way race against Dennis Reisenweaver for an open three-year seat. Guiles received 400 votes to 242 for Reisenweaver.
Others winning unopposed were Bill Moore for town moderator, Courtney Satz for trustee of public funds, and Carol Fjeld for library trustee.
By a tally of 449-250, Brandon voters approved a fiscal year 2019-2020 municipal spending plan of $3,190,855, representing a 0.92 percent increase in over last year; $2,652,555 will be raised by property taxes. Among the notable changes in this year’s budget was the creation of a new town staff position — assistant to the recreation director. The new position will be largely paid for by allowing recreation director Bill Moore, who has also been serving as economic development director for the Segment 6 project, to charge the state for project management services.
At Monday evening’s town meeting in Brandon Town Hall, voters unanimously agreed to grant the Brandon Area Rescue Squad exemption from the municipal property tax and municipal education tax in accordance with the exemption clause for “charitable and fraternal organizations” as set forth in the town’s code. The Brandon Masonic Association’s request for the same designation spurred debate on the floor. One faction said the male-only organization was out of step with the times; another said it does wonderful charitable work, especially for seniors.
After a close voice vote, the Brandon Masonic Association was offered tax-exempt status.
Otter Valley Unified Union School District voters in Brandon and the five other Otter Valley towns approved ta school district budget of $19,935,847, which represents a 3.7 percent increase in total spending over last year and a 2.7 percent per equalized student increase. The vote was relatively close — 707-622. Those same voters defeated a bond measure of $2.93 million for safety, security and operational improvements at district schools.
Town manager David Atherton also offered a breakdown of spending allocations for the 2018-2019 tax bill. According to Atherton, 58 percent of tax funds levied during the 2018-2019 fiscal year will be allocated to the area’s schools and 34 percent will fund the town budget, with smaller funding pools such as the fire district (4 percent) seeing the rest of the tax dollars.

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