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Ripton town meeting to offer budget votes, races

RIPTON — Ripton residents will gather for a belated annual town meeting on Monday, May 9, to decide fiscal year 2023 budgets for their town, highway and school services, and then go to the polls on Tuesday, May 10, to elect two additional school board members and decide contested races for selectboard and town constable.

Ripton officials this past winter elected to change the date of the community’s town meeting from March 1 to May 9, in hopes that COVID-19 would present fewer health risks for large gatherings. Plans call for the May 9 annual meeting to begin at 7 p.m. at the Silver Towers Camp off the Goshen Road.

“Since there is still a fair amount of COVID infection, we decided to find somewhere to meet that would provide a bit more space and ventilation than we might have in the Ripton Community House,” selectboard member Laurie Cox stated through a recent email to the community. “Silver Towers Camp on the Goshen Road has given us permission to use their facility. If the weather permits, we will meet in their picnic pavilion on the west side of Goshen Road. If it is raining (snowing?) or too cool, we will use their dining hall, which has many windows that open easily for extra air flow.”

She advised attendees to wear warm clothing.

Participants will field a proposed 2022-2023 general fund budget of $246,904, up from the current spending plan of $233,211. Ripton Town Clerk Alison Joseph Dickinson said the budget increase has a small bump in municipal workers’ salaries (to reflect inflation) and some minor accounting changes.

The proposed fiscal year 2023 highway budget comes in at $416,050, less than $2,000 more than the current spending plan.

Voters will also be asked to OK $35,000 for spending associated with Ripton’s transition to an independent K-12 school district. As previously covered by the Addison Independent, Ripton has received permission to function as an independent school district, a step the community took last year in an effort to preserve its local elementary school. Ripton will continue to receive its preK-12 education services through the Addison Central School District until July 1, 2023. Local residents joined voters in the other six ACSD-member towns in approving a $41,578,089 ACSD budget this past March.

Ripton is exploring the possibility of forming a new preK-12 supervisory union with the town of Lincoln, which is currently trying to exit the Mount Abraham Unified School District.

Meanwhile, the Ripton School Board is seeking $35,000 to pay the following expenses: business services ($8,000), legal services ($10,000), supervisory consulting ($6,000), curriculum consulting ($6,000), job advertising and recruiting ($2,000), virtual meeting subscription ($250), and town office services ($2,750).

Other items on the town meeting warning seek:

  • $41,000 for the Ripton Volunteer Fire and First Response Department to pay expenses from July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023.
  • $6,000 to the Ripton Cemetery Commission.

On Tuesday, May 10, residents will head to the Ripton Community House between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to decide local elections — two of which are contested. Giles Hoyler and Bonnie Swan are vying for a two-year term on the selectboard, while Perry Hanson and Chris Smith are competing for a one-year term as town constable.

Voters will add two new members to their new school board. Townspeople had previously agreed to bump their school board from three to five members, and Jane Phinney (one year) and Wendy Harlin (two years) are running unopposed for those two new spots. Incumbent Molly Witters is unopposed to a new three-year term on the school board.

In uncontested elections, Timothy Hanson is seeking a three-year term on the selectboard; Tim O’Leary, town moderator, one year; Carolyn Smith, delinquent tax collector, one year; Tim O’Leary, school moderator one year; Elizabeth Walker, cemetery commissioner, one year; and Erik Eriksen, lister, three years.

Ripton is not the last Addison County town to hold its annual town meeting, which are usually held around the first Tuesday in March. Granville delayed its town meeting — for health reasons — from March 1 to May 17. Granville residents will gather in town hall that Tuesday at 6 p.m. The town clerk, treasurer and a selectboard member are among the positions up for election.

Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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