Four people run for three seats on the Vergennes City Council

VERGENNES — Barring a write-in campaign, there will be only one contested race for the top deliberative panels in the five communities of the Vergennes area, although there will be new faces on the Vergennes City Council and the Ferrisburgh selectboard.
The contest comes in Vergennes, where four candidates filed for three seats on the city council: Deputy Mayor Lynn Jackson Donnelly, Alderman David Austin, and two seeking to become councilors for the first time, Tara Brooks and Rebecca Rey.
Both Brooks and Rey have civic experience.
Brooks, now the Addison Northwest School District afterschool program coordinator, has school board experience and has worked as a Vergennes recreation coordinator and Vergennes Partnership director.
Rey, an architectural designer, served on the Vergennes Planning Commission for more than two years, and also participated in a task force that studied transportation issues.
The Independent will profile and interview all four candidates before the Town Meeting Day election.
Incumbent Alderman David Small chose not to run again. Small was appointed to a council vacancy in 2018 and earned voter approval in March 2019 for another year in office.
Small said he has enjoyed his almost two years on the council and had “every intention” of filing. But he wrote in an email to the Independent that increased travel requirements for his job and conversations with Rey and Brooks convinced him he “would prefer to support their efforts to sit on the council rather than run against them.”
In particular he said his and their views were “strongly aligned” in the need for investing in infrastructure, especially in the city’s sewer treatment plant and problematic wastewater collection system, and “recreation for our youth and young families,” and that he also favored more diversity on the council. Donnelly is now the only female councilor.
Small said he would continue to serve on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes and would like to serve on a committee on infrastructure investment.

In Ferrisburgh the terms of selectboard members Rick Ebel and Jessica James are expiring on Town Meeting Day. James filed to run for another three-year term, which will be her second on the board, but Ebel chose to step down. Ebel has overseen an active three years as board chairman, and he has maintained all along he did not plan to seek a second term.
Filing on Monday for what is a two-year board opening that Ebel will be vacating was Christopher “CJ” Campbell, a retired Vermont State Police trooper who has been serving as Ferrisburgh’s delinquent tax collector. His election to the selectboard will mean the town must find a new tax collector, according to Town Clerk Pam Cousino.
Also significant in Ferrisburgh, Cousino said, was the decision of real estate broker Carl Cole not to seek another term on the town’s board of listers. Cole has served the town as a lister for 33 years, and in the meantime has volunteered to help with many other projects and committees, Cousino said.
On the ballot to replace Cole on Ferrisburgh’s board of listers will be his son, Roderick “Doc” Cole, who is running unopposed.
In Addison two long-term incumbents’ terms conclude on Town Meeting Day, Rob Hunt and Roger Waterman. Both signed on to return without opposition on the ballot, according to Addison Town Clerk Marilla Webb, Hunt for another three years and Waterman for two.
One member of Panton’s three-member board will see his term end on March 3, Zachary Weaver. Panton Town Clerk Pam Correia said Weaver filed to put his name on Panton’s ballot, and will face no opposition.
Until 2019 Panton chose its town officers by nomination and voice vote from the floor of town meeting, but made the change to town-wide Australian balloting for town officers at a July 2018 special meeting.
That decision left Waltham as the only area town that still chooses its town officials, including selectboard members, from the floor of its town meeting.
Selectman Michael Grace’s term expires on Town Meeting Day. As of Tuesday, Waltham Town Clerk Mary Ann Castimore said Grace had not made his plans known, but expected he would at a board meeting this coming Monday. Grace did not immediately respond to an email inquiry.

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