Town meeting results: Vergennes
VERGENNES — Vergennes residents on Tuesday picked Martha DeGraaf over Jena Santa Maria to fill the vacancy on the Addison Northwest School District Board; the vacancy was created in January when ANWSD Board Chairwoman Sue Rakowski announced she would not seek re-election.
The vote tally favored DeGraaf, 566-242.
In a four-way race for three seats on the city council, residents chose Deputy Mayor Lynn Jackson Donnelly (557 votes), Alderman David Austin (457 votes), and top vote-getter and first-time Councilor Tara Brooks (584 votes). Another first-time council candidate, Rebecca Rey, trailed the field but not far behind Austin with 421 votes.
The ballot also saw two residents elected to as Vergennes-Panton Water District commissioners; John Gunnar DeGraaf received 689 votes and Patricia Ganson received 659.
The Vergennes City Council also placed two non-binding advisory questions on the ballot.
Residents were asked if they supported the idea of changing the city charter to increase council members’ terms, including that of the mayor, from two to three years. Voters said yes, 525-357. If the charter is changed, the longer terms would be phased in.
Residents were also asked if they would support giving non-citizen legal residents the right to vote in municipal, but not statewide or federal, elections. Voters said no, but only by a close margin, 454-436.
Unlike residents in other county communities, those in Vergennes do not vote on city spending on Town Meeting Day. In June the city council will adopt a tax rate and spending for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
In Presidential primary voting, Vergennes Democrats backed Bernie Sanders with 394 votes. Trailing were Joe Biden (118 votes), Elizabeth Warren (96), Michael Bloomberg (80), Pete Buttigieg (15), Tulsi Gabbard (4), Amy Klobuchar and Mark Stewart (3 apiece), Andrew Yang (2), and Julian Castro, Tom Steyer and Marianne Williamson (1 each).
On the Republican side Donald Trump outpolled Bill Weld, 150-23.
Vergennes joined the other four ANWSD communities in a backing by a wide margin a proposed 2020-2021 district budget of $21,842,595 that will reduce spending by about $300,000, or 1%, over the current year.
ANWSD officials said the plan would avoid programming cuts and close Addison Central School for use as an elementary school, instead repurposing it for alternative education. Addison’s elementary students will attend Vergennes Union Elementary School, officials said.
According to late estimates, the district-wide tax rate was set to rise by more than 5 cents if the budget was approved.
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