Ripton town meeting preview 2020

RIPTON — Ripton voters are in store for a busy town meeting next week. In addition to voting on their town/highway budget and other money items, they will be asked to discuss the future of their town offices.
Residents will decide a combined general fund/highway budget of $650,270 for fiscal year 2021. That’s down slightly from the current $656,692 spending plan.
Article 6 on the warning features a series of discussion items that includes, “Town office building — renovate, build replica or relocate the office?” The current office building is located at 1311 Route 125 in the village between the Ripton Community House and the Ripton Community Church.
Article 6 also invites discourse on plans to build a new salt/sand shed. Those supplies are currently tarped outdoors next to the town recycling shed off Peddler’s Bridge Road. The spot is close to a branch of the Middlebury River. Along with the obvious environmental concerns, water can get into the sand/salt mixture and freeze during the colder months, making loads heavier and less efficient for road application.
Other articles on Ripton’s town meeting warning seek:
•  $41,000 to support the Ripton Volunteer Fire Department and First Response.
•  $6,000 to help the Ripton Cemetery Commission.
•  Support for an advisory referendum urging state and federal officials to pass legislation targeting climate change. The referendum also asks the local energy committee to brainstorm ways of fighting climate change, including setting a goal of making the community carbon neutral by 2030.
There are no contested local elections in Ripton this year. Those running unopposed include Laureen “Laurie” Cox, selectboard, three years; Molly Witters, moderator, one year; and Kathleen Sullivan, delinquent tax collector, one year.
Still, local residents will help decide two contested elections for the Addison Central School District board. One of them involves Ellie Bishop challenging Jennifer Nuceder for a three-year term representing Salisbury on the 13-member panel. The other features Christin Gardner and incumbents Mary Gill and Victoria Jette vying for two available slots representing Middlebury.
Ripton is one of four Addison Central School District Communities that will permit a public vote on two petitioned items that the ACSD board had declined to place on the district ballot. The first article recommends that each ACSD board member be elected only by the voters of his or her hometown; candidates are currently elected at-large in the seven-town district. The second item suggests that no ACSD school be closed unless such a move is endorsed by a majority of voters in the town in which the school is located.
Both questions are non-binding.
Ripton voters on March 3 will join Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge folks in fielding an ACSD K-12 education budget proposal of $39,507,837 for the 2020-2021 academic year. The spending plan reflects a 3.74-percent increase that would essentially allow the district to maintain current educational programming for children in pre-K through grade 12.
If approved, the ACSD budget is projected to drive Ripton’s homestead education property tax rate to $1.89 per $100 in property value, up from the current $1.76.
Residents will also cast ballots on the proposed 2020-2021 Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center budget of $3,854,752, which reflects an 11.42% increase compared to this year’s spending plan.
Ripton’s annual town meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 2, in the Ripton Community House. Australian ballot voting will occur the following day at the same venue, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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