Town meeting results: Brandon

BRANDON — Incumbents Seth Hopkins and Doug Bailey won re-election to the Brandon selectboard on Town Meeting Day against a solid challenge from newcomer Alison Walter.
Board Chair Hopkins was the top vote getter in the race for two one-year seats with 709 votes. Bailey garnered 657 votes, and Walter tallied 553.
Reached by phone Tuesday night, Walter said she was pleased with the results.
“It was a good showing,” she said. “I think I did pretty well considering I’m a relative newcomer to the Brandon political scene. It was a good learning experience.”
So good that Walter said she will run again next year. And she may win, because Bailey said Tuesday night he would not run again next year.
“It was close,” he said. “She ran a very respectable race. I told her to keep coming to meetings and try again because I’m not running next year.”
Is Bailey sure about that decision?
“I’m sure,” he said. “This will be six and a half years and it will be time for new people. The things I feel I was vested in are Route 7 and Park Street paving. I promised those people that I would push it at every turn. I feel the town is in a very solid spot right now and I feel good that this is the end. There are always new challenges in life.”
Hopkins also congratulated Walter on “a really strong showing.”
“I would encourage her to continue working on the downtown and the trails,” he said.
Hopkins also said that the race was valuable for learning more about what the voters see. Walter mentioned at the Feb. 27 candidates forum that some voters told her they felt the selectboard was not very approachable.
“This was a good exercise to find out what our weaknesses are, and the approachability of the board is an issue, so we will do our very best to improve that,” Hopkins said. “It was a good exercise to see that not everyone is seeing things the way you see them in your own bubble.”
Walter was recently appointed to the planning commission and will continue as a member of the Downtown Brandon Alliance.
“I’ll keep being involved with the town,” she said. “I’ll keep working to achieve the vision I have for Brandon. I think Seth and Doug will do great this year.”
Like the rest of the state, turnout at the polls was good. Almost 39 percent of Brandon voters cast ballots on Tuesday.
Voters approved the $3,266,303 fiscal year 2021 municipal spending plan by a vote of 716-451. The budget represents a 2.48% increase in spending, or $65,798, over the current budget. The selectboard budgeted $2,718,353 to be raised by taxes.
Brandon taxpayers also approved a $100,000 appropriation for paving Park Street Extension, Corona Street and Country Club Road.
All the appropriations for non-profit human service groups and organizations on the ballot passed.
Other town meeting results:
•  Selectman Brian Coolidge won re-election, unopposed, to another three-year seat.
•  Town Clerk and Treasurer Sue Gage won re-election, unopposed, for another three-year term.
•  Moderator Bill Moore was re-elected to another one-year term
•  Tanner Romano was re-elected as a Trustee of Public Funds for another three-year term.
•  David Roberts was re-elected to another two-year term as library trustee.
Like the rest of the state, Brandon went for Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Presidential Primary with 394 votes. Joe Biden came in second with 210 votes, Michael Bloomberg came in third with 96 votes, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren got 75 votes from Brandon Democrats.

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