Town meeting results: Middlebury
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury voters at their annual town meeting Monday evening passed all the money items on their ballot, though they modified a major funding request from Middlebury Regional EMS (MREMS) and decided they should be able to pay their property taxes in three installments next year instead of the recommended two.
Following a spirited Monday gathering, residents went to the polls on Tuesday to pass — by substantial margins — a combined total of up to $5.35 million to bankroll projects aimed at replacing aging water mains in the Court Square area, fortifying the banks of the Middlebury River to avert future flooding in East Middlebury, and repurposing former sewer plant buildings into storage space for the municipal police department (see related story).
The water main improvement bond passed by an 1,899-277 margin, the East Middlebury flood resiliency project earned support by a 1,836-332 margin, and the repurposing of the former wastewater treatment plant infrastructure for storage passed by a 1,772 to 405 tally.
Residents on Monday approved a fiscal year 2021 municipal budget of $11,503,680 by a resounding voice vote.
They agreed to quadruple (to $84,960) the town’s annual appropriation for MREMS, but did so only for next year. Voters asked the selectboard to more closely vet the MREMS request and come back to the 2021 town meeting with a long-term funding recommendation for MREMS (see related story).
The selectboard had recommended that residents be allowed to pay their property taxes in two installments next fiscal year: Oct. 15, 2020, and March 15, 2021. The selectboard’s rationale was to minimize downtown traffic to the town offices in light of this year’s installation of the new rail tunnel. Middlebury has historically allowed property taxes to be paid in three separate installments, and residents on Monday voted to return to that system — largely in deference to lower-income residents who might need to space out their payments.
Residents also OK’d town meeting articles seeking:
• Permission to borrow up to $80,000 over five years to replace two police cruisers and related equipment.
• $5,000 to the Turning Point Center of Addison County to carry on its mission of helping people, their families, and their friends in recovery from substance use disorder and addictive behaviors.
• $5,000 to help the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity provide housing, fuel and food assistance to town residents.
There were no contested municipal elections in Middlebury this year. Elected unopposed were incumbent Selectman Brian Carpenter for another three years; Dan Brown, selectboard, three years (for a seat held by Laura Asermily); Susan Shashok, town moderator, one year; Ann Webster, town clerk, three years Jacqueline Sullivan, town treasurer, three years; Andy Hooper, Ilsley Library trustee, three years; and Gary Baker, lister, three years.
Local residents helped decide two contested elections for the Addison Central School District board. One of them involved Ellie Bishop challenging Jennifer Nuceder for a three-year term representing Salisbury on the 13-member panel. The other featured Christin Gardner and incumbents Mary Gill and Victoria Jette for two available slots representing Middlebury. Nuceder topped Bishop, 1,920 to 1,289, while Gill and Jette earned 2,323 and 2,278 tallies, respectively, in their successful re-election bids. Gardner finished out of the running with 1,446 votes.
Middlebury voters on March 3 joined Bridport, Cornwall, 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 (see related story). Local voters also cast ballots on the proposed 2020-2021 2021 Patricia Hannaford Career Center budget of $3,854,752.
In the Democratic presidential primary, Bernie Sanders topped the field in Middlebury with 947 votes, while Joe Biden finished second with 523 tallies. Also receiving votes were Elizabeth Warren (510), Michael Bloomberg (238), Pete Buttigieg (58), Amy Klobuchar (47) and Tulsi Gabbard (11).
In the Republican primary, President Donald Trump led the field with 184 tallies, while Bill Weld finished second with 37 and Rocque De La Fuente received 4.
A more detailed account of Middlebury’s annual gathering appears on Page 1A.
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