News

Town Meeting 2024 results

ANDREW MANNING RAISES his hand at the Bridport town meeting. Independent photo/Steve James

Here’s what happened at each of the town meetings in Addison County.

ADDISON

Addison this year boasted the most crowded Town Meeting Day selectboard race in the county, with nine candidates, including three incumbents, vying for three available seats.

Residents decided the three selectboard races, and all spending questions, via Australian balloting on Tuesday.

Ultimately, the three incumbents prevailed in the selectboard races.

Board Chair Roger Waterman drew four opponents for a two-year term and came out on top with 170 votes, followed by Michael Hollis, 95; Ethan Gevry, 80; Geoffrey Grant, 75; and Elizabeth Armstrong, 37.

Former board chair and longtime incumbent Jeffrey Kauffman defeated one challenger for three more years, Eliza Spencer, by a 270-171 margin. 

Incumbent Peter Briggs was on the ballot for one year, and he turned aside a challenge from  Levi Barrett, 256-201.

In a race for a seat on the Tri-Town Water District Board, Larry Simino outpolled Adam Thomann, 238-170.

One notable office went begging for candidates on the ballot: Longtime Addison Northwest School District board member Laurie Childers told town officials she made the difficult decision not to file paperwork this time around, and no one filed papers for her seat.

TOWN MEETINGS CAN mean serious business, but there are cheerful instances, too, like the one that brought this smile to Alden Harwood’s face in Addison on Monday.
Independent photo/Steve James

However, according to town officials one write-in candidate, Carole McBride, received 31 votes, more than enough to surpass the minimum percentage to be elected, and will join the ANWSD board.   

Meanwhile, residents backed all the selectboard’s financial proposals in Tuesday balloting.  

The board’s proposed general fund budget of $732,100, up by more than $80,000 from current fiscal year spending, prevailed by 268-179.

The board’s proposed highway budget of $938,911, calling for an increase of almost $28,000 over the current fiscal year’s spending level, was supported by a 334-131 margin.

Residents also backed appropriations requests from 22 nonprofits; most notably $10,000 from the Town Line First Response Squad and $30,162 from the Bixby Library. 

In presidential primary voting, Addison residents on the Republican side backed Donald Trump over Nikki Haley, 159-137. On the Democratic side, Joe Biden received 100 of the 129 votes cast. 

Addison also on Tuesday joined the other four Addison Northwest School District communities in voting by Australian ballot on a proposed school district spending plan of $28,232,078 for the upcoming school year, and on a separate proposal to put about $1.17 million of a Fiscal Year 2023 surplus into an ANWSD capital reserve fund.

Voters defeated the budget, 1,282-1,012. Read more here.

BRANDON

After a tense election season in which Brandon residents expressed extreme frustration with budget increases and rising taxes, Town Meeting Day voters rejected a proposed fiscal year 2025 municipal spending of $3,796,180, which represented a 13.4% hike over the current year’s spending. Brandon residents also defeated the proposed town-owned solar array, which would have required a $500,000 bond.  

With 1,377 ballots submitted, the town budget received 610 votes (45%) in favor and 741 votes (55%) against.  

The FY25 proposed budget included a $300,000 line item for road paving, without which the budget would’ve increased by less than 5%. In past years, paving had been placed as a standalone appropriation on the ballot, a maneuver that some selectboard members had called “smoke and mirrors” because it allowed the board to claim a smaller budget increase.  

The defeated solar array had been the center of controversy for months, with the Brandon Energy Committee expending a good deal of time and energy promoting the idea and numerous residents vociferously arguing against it at selectboard meetings and on social media.  

The tally on the solar array was 351 votes (34%) in favor and 890 votes (66%) against.

Voters returned three experienced members to the Brandon selectboard: Doug Bailey, Ralph Ethier and Heather Fjeld Nelson.  Bailey won a three-year term, taking the seat vacated by Tracy Wyman. Ethier and Fjeld won single-year terms.

Voters approved all 14 appropriations requested by local organizations, the largest of which were $92,000 for the Brandon Free Public Library and $82,580 for the Brandon Area Rescue Squad

“Yes” votes narrowly outnumbered “no” votes (719 to 622) on the non-binding advisory question as to whether the town should hire additional police officers to ensure 24-hour, on-duty police coverage.

FOLKS RAISE THEIR hands at Addison’s town meeting.
Independent photo/Steve James

Brandon residents saw the proposed school budget go down to defeat on Tuesday. The six member towns in the Otter Valley Unified Union (OVUU) soundly defeated the proposed 2024-2025 spending proposal of $27,247,823 — with 1,325 votes opposed, 891 in favor. Proposed spending represented a 12.71% increase over the current year’s spending. Read more here.

Brandon residents cast ballots for two OVUU board seats: Fernanda Canales of Goshen (1,633 votes) and Natalie Steen of Brandon (1,745) both were returned to their seats. Five more OVUU board seats were on the ballot with no nominees. Anyone who wanted them, could have waged a campaign for write-in votes, but Superintendent Kristin Hubert reported on Tuesday evening that while there were a few scattered votes for these open seats, no one received a sufficient number of write-ins to prevail in the election. So town selectboards will have appoint school board members.

— Steven Jupiter, Brandon Reporter

BRIDPORT

Bridport residents at their annual town meeting on Tuesday approved all the financial requests on their warning and took a first step toward possibly withdrawing from the Lemon Fair Insect Control District (LFICD).

The LFICD was established in 2006 for the purpose of mosquito abatement in the towns of Bridport, Cornwall and Weybridge. The district’s strategy includes introducing larvicides in areas of the district where major mosquito hatches appear imminent. The LFICD is supported by grants from the state of Vermont and contributions from the three member towns.

While those present at Bridport’s annual gathering called for (by voice vote) withdrawal from the district, the selectboard will now have to set an Australian ballot vote to affirm or reject that choice.

The town’s exit would be effective one year after the vote, with the town still responsible for its LFICD dues during that transitional year.

Residents backed, by voice vote, the purchase of a new tandem dump truck at a cost of around $275,000, to be financed over five years. Town meeting participants even decided to give the selectboard another $5,000 to assist in the transaction. 

Voters overwhelmingly supported a town/highway budget of $1,872,217 for fiscal year 2025. Of that, $1,428,354 will need to be raised through property taxes.

In other town meeting related action, Bridport residents:

• Agreed to use $25,000, from the town’s accumulated Public Works Department fund balance to help pay the cost of a heat recovery system for Bridport’s highway garage.

• OK’d $25,000 in funding for the Bridport Fire Department.

• Approved a total of $49,463 in social service funding requests from nonprofits providing services to Bridport residents. Around $16,000 of that sum comes from a per-capita funding request through Middlebury Regional EMS.

• Cast ballots in the Democratic and GOP presidential primaries. On the Democrat side, incumbent U.S. President Joe Biden earned 76 votes; the next closest challenger was Marianne Williamson, with five tallies.

BRIDPORT RESIDENTS LIKE Dinah Bain get a chance to seek clarity on municipal issues at Tuesday morning’s town meeting in Bridport’s Community Hall.
Independent photo/Steve James

On the GOP side, former President Donald Trump was the top vote-getter with 108, compared to 100 for Nikki Haley.

There were no contested elections on this year’s Town Meeting Day ballot. Incumbent selectboard members David Bronson and Robert Sunderland ran for and won terms of three and two years, respectively. Tim Howlett won another year as town moderator.

Bridport residents participated in uncontested elections for four  three-year seats on the Addison Central School District board. Running unopposed were incumbent Mary Heather Noble and Laura Harthan for two Middlebury seats on the board, and incumbents Ellen Whelan-Wuest and Barbara Wilson for seats representing Cornwall and Shoreham, respectively.

All ACSD candidates were elected at-large in the seven-town district.

Voters in the seven-town Addison Central School District OK’d the $50 million spending plan with a vote of 2,081-1,157, which is convincing but not as large a margin as has been seen in many recent years. Read more here.

BRISTOL

In Town Meeting Day voting in Bristol, residents weighed in on a contested race for an open seat on the town’s selectboard and agreed to purchase land for a new public works facility. 

Jessica Teets topped Chanin Hill, 511-326, in the race for a three-year-term on the selectboard. Incumbent Selectman Joel Bouvier (two-year-term) also won re-election to the board. He ran unopposed. 

Four of Bristol’s seats on the Mount Abraham Unified School District board appeared on the March 5 ballot. MAUSD Vice Chair Erin Jipner was unchallenged in her bid for another three-year-term on the board. School board representative Mike Dash was also unchallenged in seeking to finish the remaining two years of a seat he was appointed to fill in April. 

No candidates had stepped forward to run for the one year remaining on a two-year seat formerly held by Jipner, or Bristol’s other open three-year seat. Write-ins votes for those two seats were tabulated on Wednesday morning and not immediately available as the Independent went to press. 

Residents who live in the Bristol Police District (primarily the village) voted 304-131 in favor of a spending plan of $626,628 for the upcoming fiscal year. That’s an increase of $27,280, or 4.6%, with $479,461 to be raised by taxes.

In presidential primary voting in Bristol, Joe Biden was the top vote-getter on the Democrat side with 377 votes. In the GOP contest, Donald Trump prevailed over Nikki Haley, 212-197. 

At Bristol’s annual town meeting on Monday, residents voted from the floor to approve: 

• $1,149,168 in General Fund spending, an increase of $35,283, or 3.2%, with $962,968 to be raised in taxes.

• $912,544 in Public Works spending, an increase of $17,886, or 2%, with $785,586 to be raised by taxes.

• $415,076 in Arts, Parks and Recreation spending, an increase of $65,807, or 18.8%, with $302,486 to be raised in taxes.

PAUL WAGNER LISTENS at Bridport’s town meeting.
Independent photo/Steve James

Voters also approved a total of $158,973 for 31 voted appropriations to organizations in Bristol and throughout the county. Those in attendance shot down Article 21, which asked voters to allow for the use of Australian ballot to vote on civic/social services appropriations beginning next year.

Also at the annual meeting, Bristol residents authorized the purchase of 4.7 acres at the corner of Hewitt Road and Route 116 for the purpose of constructing a new Public Works Department facility.

Voters in the Mount Abraham Unified School District said no to $37 million in school spending by a tally of 1,341 to 1,113. Read more here.

CORNWALL

Cornwall voters approved all items on their town meeting business agenda and overwhelming supported incumbent President Joe Biden and GOP presidential hopeful Nikki Haley in the primary elections.

Haley finished with 101 votes in Cornwall’s GOP primary contest, compared to 43 for former President Donald Trump.

On the Democratic side, Biden earned 171 tallies, compared to seven each for Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson.

There were no contested local elections. Those running unopposed included Cy Tall for a one-year term as town moderator; John Roberts, three years, selectboard; Shawn Fetterolf, two years, selectboard; and Susan Johnson, three years, library trustee.

Cornwall residents at their annual gathering on Saturday overwhelmingly supported a fiscal year 2024-25 municipal budget of $510,838, and a highway budget request of $551,800.

Cornwall residents also endorsed:

• $73,600 to help support the Cornwall Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD).

• Permission to exempt, from local property taxes, the CVFD’s properties at 1952 Route 30 and 63 North Bingham St.

• $4,000 to help support the Cornwall Free Library.

• A total of $41,670 in requests from nonprofit entities that provide services to Cornwall residents.

RIPTON RESIDENTS SHARE coffee and conversation at Ripton’s annual town meeting, held on Monday evening, March 4. Attendees voted on two contested selectboard races, OK’d budgets for town highways, the town cemetery and the fire and rescue department, and opted for Joe Biden and Nikki Haley in the Presidential primary.
Independent photo/Megan James

Cornwall residents participated in uncontested elections for four, three-year seats on the Addison Central School District board. Running unopposed were incumbent Mary Heather Noble and Laura Harthan for two Middlebury seats on the board, and incumbents Ellen Whelan-Wuest (Cornwall) and Barbara Wilson (Shoreham).

All ACSD candidates were elected at-large in the seven-town district.

Voters in the seven-town Addison Central School District OK’d the $50 million spending plan with a vote of 2,081-1,157, which is convincing but not as large a margin as has been seen in many recent years. Read more here.

FERRISBURGH

Ferrisburgh residents decided a closely contested race for a selectboard seat and approved increased town spending over the past few days.

In the selectboard race, Stephen Fleming defeated Susan Oliveira, 383-340, or 53-47%, in Tuesday balloting for the seat vacated by longtime board member Red Muir.

From the floor of town meeting at the town hall on Saturday, residents approved all spending measures. 

The town’s total approved spending on the ballot, including the nonprofit requests that were all  approved, was $2,658,079, which was an increase of about 8.3%, or $203,087, from last year. According to Town Clerk Pam Cousino, that would translate to about 3.6 cents more on the municipal side of Ferrisburgh’s property tax rate, but the selectboard could elect to use some surplus money to offset the increase, officials said. 

The main drivers of the higher budget can be found in the town’s highway department. Proposed paving costs rose by $94,000 because the town is falling behind its road resurfacing schedule and resurfacing costs have also risen. 

Though that increase was partially offset by projected lower fuel, truck and equipment maintenance expenses, the overall budget also includes $22,000 in higher department wages.  

Other increases include $13,000 more for the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad, based on a $5 higher per capita assessment; roughly $34,000 for the Ferrisburgh Volunteer Fire Department; $25,000 in higher employee benefits, most of which is $17,000 in rising health insurance costs; $27,000 for a much-needed town-wide property reappraisal; and $10,736 for the town’s new fire contract with Vergennes

ELLIOT AND JOANNE Pask survey and sample the treats on a table at the back of the Ripton Community House while their elders focus on the action at the front of the room during Monday evening’s town meeting. This was the first year since the pandemic that the Ripton Social Committee could bring back the soup potluck and the table full of cookies.
Independent photo/Megan James

Residents also approved spending up to $225,000 to buy a new dump truck and related snow removal equipment for the town highway department. Payments for that truck are unlikely to begin during the coming fiscal year. 

In Tuesday presidential balloting, on the Democratic side, Ferrisburgh residents gave President Joe Biden 302 votes and other candidates a total of 36, and on the Republican side, Nikki Haley prevailed over Donald Trump, 259-199.

The five municipalities in the Addison Northwest School District defeated a $28 million budget, 1,282-1,012. Read more here.

GOSHEN

After a couple tumultuous meetings in recent years, the Goshen town meeting on Monday night was called “productive.”

“It was a positive meeting,” observed Martin Fjeld, who was appointed town clerk last summer. “It was viewed by all as productive.”

All warned items fielded at Monday’s meeting passed. That included a road budget for $747,150, which represented an astounding 323% increase over the amount approved for roads last year. But with $200,000 in state aid for paving Town Hill Road, plus some other funding, the proposed amount raised by taxes — $155,150 — represents an increase of $11,850, or about 8.3%

Goshen residents also approved municipal spending of $269,761, which is an increase of $21,598, or 8.7%, over last year.

Fjeld explained that during the Monday evening meeting the municipal budget was amended to add $10,000 for a special townwide property reappraisal. This was needed because the town’s Common Level of Appraisal, or CLA, was so out outdated that the state required it to be updated. 

The reappraisal is expected to begin in September and could take a year. Since the process will cross over into next year, Fjeld expected more money to be added to next year’s budget to pay a second installment on the reappraisal.

There was an animated discussion — on both sides — over whether the town should do away with its two town constables, according to observer Carolyn Van Vleck. The idea was that constables come and go, and training new ones periodically is an expenditure that could instead be put toward public safety work from the county sheriff or state police. The vote to abolish the constable positions prevailed.

At town meeting, Goshen residents decided to replace the elected local auditors and instead hire an outside professional auditor, as many Vermont towns have done.

Goshed residents agreed to allow the town treasurer to be an appointed (rather than an elected) position, in order to expands the pool of candidates. That change won’t take place for a year. In the meantime, Goshen elected Vickee Whiting to be town treasurer for the next 12 months.

Goshen folks re-elected Bill Mathis to a three-year term on the selectboard and elected incumbent Martin Fjeld town clerk for one year.

Goshen residents saw the proposed school budget go down to defeat on Tuesday. The six member towns in the Otter Valley Unified Union (OVUU) soundly defeated the proposed 2024-2025 spending proposal of $27,247,823. The tally was 1,325 votes opposed, 891 in favor. Proposed spending represented a 12.71% increase over the current year’s spending. Read more here.

Goshen residents cast ballots for two OVUU board seats: Fernanda Canales of Goshen (1,633 votes) and Natalie Steen of Brandon (1,745) both were returned to their seats. Five more OVUU board seats were on the ballot with no nominees. Anyone who wanted them could have waged a campaign for write-in votes, but Superintendent Kristin Hubert reported on Tuesday evening that while there were a few scattered votes for these open seats, no one had received a sufficient number of write-ins to prevail in the election. So town selectboards will need to appoint the school board members.

In the presidential primary, Joe Biden won 37 of 45 votes cast for Democrats. For Republicans, it was Donald Trump 25, Nikki Haley 16.

GRANVILLE

Perhaps the thing might possibly be called a surprise out of Tuesday’s Granville town meeting, was that all the elected seats got filled and the budget passe without amendment.

Selectboard member Rachel Grigorian’s term was up, and she let it be known that she wouldn’t run for re-election. Michael Eramo stood for the three-year seat on the Granville selectboard, and town meeting attendees accepted him.

Town Clerk Cheryl Sargeant had also wondered aloud before the meeting in the Granville Town Hall if Constable Mark Belisle would be returned to office, since he had missed a considerable amount of time during the past year due to an injury. But voters returned him to the job, and also elected him as a cemetery commissioner.

The other officials elected were: 2nd constable – Jeffrey Lumbra, auditor – Robin Hagerman, and delinquent tax collector – Nancy Needham.

The selectboard had proposed a town spending plan of $405,886 for the coming fiscal year, which is 7.9% higher than the current year. The selectboard budgeted $218,778 for municipal spending (up 6.7%) and $187,108 for highway spending (up 9.4%). The budget passed.

Voters also agreed to put $6,000 more into the Highway Capital Investment Fund for road paving, and $5,000 into the Municipal Building Investment Fund for repainting municipal buildings.

ADDISON SELECTBOARD CHAIR Roger Waterman speaks at the town’s March 4 informational meeting
in the former Addison Central School gym. Waterman was re-elected to the board the next day in a five-person race for one seat.
Independent photo/Steve James

Joe Biden won the plurality of the 54 Granville votes cast in the Presidential Primary; the incumbent Democrat won 24. On the Republican side, Donald Trump, with 11 votes, squeaked by Nikki Haley with 10; also one Republican voted for Ron Desantis.

HANCOCK

Money was on the minds of Hancock residents at their town meeting on Tuesday morning at town hall, but before they discussed the budget, they had the smallest bit of drama over municipal personnel. 

Incumbent Selectman Dan Perera was re-elected by voice vote with no opposition. 

The one position that wasn’t decided by a vote from the floor was the position of road commissioner. By paper ballots, Hancock residents picked Derek Dzhugashvili over Jim Leno to be road commissioner; Dzhugashvili got 16 votes, Jim got 11 and Dan Perera, who was not nominated, got two votes.

Then came the money items.

Perera explained the case for having the town borrow $1,210,000 for temporary funding to replace Texas Falls Road bridge No. 1. Hancock had an opportunity to get full re-imbursement through a Federal Lands Access Program grant upon project completion. If the town waited for the bridge to fail, he explained, the price could rise to $2 million, and full funding would likely be unavailable. With a show of hands, the motion carried.

When voters considered the proposed town spending plan of $483,915, they made a few changes. First, the selectboard explained why they lowered the public safety line item in the budget from $15,000 to $1. Essentially, they weren’t renewing a contract with the Addison County Sheriff’s Department due to speed enforcement on Route 100 in the village. In a conversation after the meeting, Perera explained that the board gets monthly reports of sheriff’s deputy enforcement activity, and selectboard members said they didn’t think the town was getting what it was paying for. Sheriff Mike Elmore wrote the town a long letter citing reasons he believed his department was living up its contract. Jacques Veilleux moved to raise the public safety line item back $15,000, and the motion carried. Perera said the selectboard now can renegotiate a contract with the Addison County sheriff or other agencies.

Townspeople at the meeting made a few other changes to the budget, OK’d $8,509 in appropriations to 10 organizations and approved a final town spending plan of $472,401.

In a separately warned item, Hancock adopted a “Declaration of Inclusion” to promote fair and equal treatment of everyone. The effort of a nonprofit, the declaration says the town officially “condemns racism and welcomes all persons, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, disability, or socioeconomic status, and wants everyone to feel safe and welcome in our community.” 

At the end of the meeting, Stacey Peters reminded voters that the annual school meeting will be on May 14 at 6 p.m. in Granville.

Jim Lenno announced this would be his last year as moderator.

LEICESTER

Of the 39 Leicester residents at Monday night’s Town Meeting, 20 were feeling pretty generous, while 19 not so much. That reality was reflected in a 20-19 paper ballot vote considering a measure from the floor to add a one-time payment of $25,000 to the Brandon Free Public Library’s renovation project. 

The proposal was moved by Doug Perkins following a brief discussion to cut $2,500 from the general budget that’s been included as an annual town contribution to Brandon library for numerous years. A motion to that effect didn’t receive a second, so it died. 

Perkins’s motion to gift the Brandon Library, on the other hand, received a second and spawned several comments by residents leading to a call for the paper ballot vote, and the one-vote margin for passage. The library is undergoing a $3 million renovation and has yet to raise the full amount needed.

 The addition brought the town’s total expenditures for the year to $834,685.72; of that amount, $468,190 is dedicated to the town’s highway expenses.

LEICESTER TOWN CLERK Julie Delphia, right, and selectboard member Diane Randall explain the election process to area students on a school field trip to the Leicester polls during voting this past Tuesday.
Photo courtesy of Dianne Harvey

Rep. Peter Conlon opened the meeting with a 20-minute overview of legislative action on key bills, as well as a review of the education tax dilemma facing the state, and the “perfect storm” of factors driving historically high school tax rates. He noted the state was seeing a $250 million increase in school spending statewide, with average school budgets pitching double-digit spending increases — just one of the main factors leading to what are expected to be record-high tax rates for the upcoming year.

Conlon, who chairs the House Education Committee, explained the three primary contributing factors to the rise in school spending was the end of federal pandemic-related money (which had been significant these past two budget cycles) that financed extra teacher aids, mental health and behavior-related positions; a 16% increase in health care insurance, along with inflation in building-related costs; and the increased need to meet mental health issues at school. He said while costs are high, the Legislature is having to say “no” to numerous new proposals and are trying to rein in costs going forward.

No other issues were debated during the hour-long meeting, though selectboard chair Diane Benware praised the work of several town employees and promoted a Green Up Day event this coming May that’ll seek to get the most pledges to clean up in a 24-hour period starting Friday, May 3, at 4 p.m. If successful, those who participate may make it into the Guinness Book of Records. More information can be found on the state’s Green Up Day website, and locals can sign-up via the town’s webpage.

During Australian ballot voting on Tuesday, the town elected Richard Reed as moderator for a one-year term, incumbent Brad Lawes for a three-year term to the selectboard, and incumbent Diane Randall to a two-year term to the selectboard.

Leicester residents joined voters in the six-town Otter Valley Unified Union School District to weigh in on the proposed FY2025 budget of $27,247,823, which would’ve increased spending by $3,073,428 or 12.71%. Voters soundly defeated the proposed OVUU spending proposal. The tally was 1,325 votes opposed, 891 in favor. Read more here.

In January, the district estimated this level of spending would drive up education property taxes in the six towns between 17% and 28% for those who paid based on their income (two-thirds of Vermonters pay less for their school taxes because of state support).

Leicester residents cast ballots for two OVUU board seats: Fernanda Canales of Goshen (1,633 votes) and Natalie Steen of Brandon (1,745) both were returned to their seats. Five more OVUU board seats were on the ballot with no nominees. Anyone who wanted them could have waged a campaign for write-in votes, but Superintendent Kristin Hubert reported Tuesday evening that while there were a few scattered votes for these open seats, no one had received a sufficient number of write-ins to prevail in the election. So town selectboards will need to appoint school board members.

In presidential primary balloting in Leicester, on the Republican side Nikki Haley edged Donald Trump, 87-76, and on the Democratic side Joe Biden received 66 out of 75 votes cast. 

LINCOLN

Lincoln voters on Town Meeting Day decided two contested races for open seats on the town’s selectboard. 

In a three-way race for a three-year term, Joe Martell earned the most votes with 177. The second top vote-getter was Ken Stockman (144), followed by Bern Terry (129). 

Victor Atkins II prevailed over Brett Bassett in a two-person contest for the remaining year of a three-year term vacated by former Selectman Alan Schmidt in August. Atkins earned 381 votes, compared to 60 for Bassett. 

Amanda Allen was also elected to the selectboard for a two-year term. She ran unopposed. 

There were no other contested races on the Lincoln ballot. Deirdre Kelly (three-year-term) and Peg Sutlive (two-year-term) were unopposed in their bids for two open seats on the Lincoln School Board. 

Lincoln voters on Town Meeting Day also cast ballots in the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries. On the Democrat side, incumbent President Joe Biden earned the most votes with 228. In the GOP contest, Nikki Haley prevailed over Donald Trump, 130-76. 

Over 100 Lincoln residents gathered in Burnham Hall for the town’s annual meeting on Monday, March 4. The gathering spanned over four hours, about half of which was dedicated to the Lincoln School District’s annual meeting. 

LINCOLN SCHOOL BOARD Chair Jeanne Albert answers a question during the Lincoln School District’s annual meeting on Monday. During the meeting, voters approved school district spending for the upcoming year and heard from the board about some of their priorities. 
Independent photo/Marin Howell

 After some discussion, voters at the meeting approved a general fund budget of $484,797 and $1,087,680 in highway spending for the upcoming fiscal year. 

Voters also agreed to establish a full-time town administrator position in Lincoln and appropriate a sum of up to $130,000 to support the position.

Article 8 asked voters whether the town should vote on public questions involving law enforcement by Australian ballot beginning with the 2025 annual meeting. The article prompted a lengthy discussion among those in attendance. It was amended to specify voting on public questions involving the contracting of law enforcement services by Australian Ballot and ultimately failed by voice vote. 

Voters also shot down Article 9, which asked voters to authorize spending $10,000 for contracted law enforcement services. The article generated spirited discussion among residents, several of whom expressed support for the proposal and the need to address speeding and other crime in town. Other voters opposed the article and pointed to alternative ways of addressing crime-related concerns. 

Also at the annual meeting, voters authorized the deposit of $175,000 into Lincoln’s Paving Reserve Fund. Residents also approved 29 voted appropriations to local organizations totaling $144,098, including $44,000 for the Lincoln Library and $56,000 for the Lincoln Volunteer Fire Company. 

During the Lincoln School District’s annual meeting, voters approved a $4,927,940 spending plan for the 2024-2025 school year, an increase of 6.09% in total spending over the current year. Superintendent Amy Cole noted that the proposed budget includes investments in an additional first- and second-grade classroom teacher and funds set aside for facilities and contingency planning. Read more here.

MIDDLEBURY

Middlebury residents on Town Meeting Day decided a contested race for two, three-year spots on their selectboard and at their 2024 town meeting on Monday evening approved all the money items on their warning.

Middlebury voters overwhelmingly backed incumbent Selectman Farhad Khan (1,252 tallies) and former longtime Town Planner Fred Dunnington (1,049 votes) for the two available selectboard seats, while former Selectman Travis Forbes finished out of the running with 443 votes.

All other elections on the local ballot were uncontested. But Middlebury residents also cast ballots in the Democratic and GOP presidential primaries. On the Democrat side, President Joe Biden earned 922 votes; the next closest challenger was Marianne Williamson, with 27 tallies.

On the GOP side, Nikki Haley was the top vote getter with 426 tallies, with former US President Donald Trump receiving 193.

At their annual gathering on Monday evening, Middlebury residents unanimously backed (by voice vote) an FY’25 municipal spending plan of $13.6 million (a 5.5% increase compared to this year) that will require an $8,753,310 infusion of property taxes. The budget will require a 2.99-cent increase in Middlebury’s current municipal tax rate of 86.48 cents per $100 in property value.

In a related move, residents on Monday also agreed, by voice vote, to apply $133,450 from Middlebury’s local option tax surplus fund to draw down debt on renovations to a former wastewater treatment plant building that’s now being used for storage and as a Middlebury police workout facility. The fund transfer will save taxpayers around $140,000.

In other action on Tuesday, Middlebury residents:

• Voted to 1,402 to 189 in favor of floating a $1.5 million bond to continue major upgrades to South Street, including installing new sewer mains, sewer service lines, sewer manholes, stormwater mains, stormwater catch basin structures, yard drains, new concrete curb, stormwater treatment systems (as possible), traffic calming bump-outs and final paving.

AROUND 180 PEOPLE attended Middlebury’s annual town meeting in the MUHS auditorium on Monday evening. They made relatively quick work of the five-article agenda, and also set aside time to talk about a proposed Ilsley Library construction project, as well as two bond proposals that voters fielded (and passed) on Tuesday.
Independent photo/John Flowers

• Voted to 1,370 to 234 in favor of a $1.2 million bond to complete reconstruction of Bakery Lane, including rebuilding the roadway to accommodate vehicular and pedestrian traffic while also addressing ongoing drainage issues, and the replacement of the existing water main, gravity sewer system, and pressure force main.

Town officials said they expect to net considerable state/federal aid to draw down the impact of the bonds on taxpayers.

Middlebury residents participated in uncontested elections for four, three-year seats on the Addison Central School District board. Running unopposed were incumbent Mary Heather Noble and Laura Harthan for two Middlebury seats on the board, and incumbents Ellen Whelan-Wuest and Barbara Wilson for seats representing Cornwall and Shoreham, respectively.

All ACSD candidates were elected at-large in the seven-town district.

Voters in the seven-town Addison Central School District OK’d the $50 million spending plan with a vote of 2,081-1,157, which is convincing but not as large a margin as has been seen in many recent years. Read more here.

MONKTON

There were no surprises on Town Meeting Day in Monkton. 

Joseph Szarejko (three-year-term) and incumbent Selectboard Chair Stephen Pilcher (two-year-term) were unopposed in their bids for seats on the town’s selectboard. 

As for Monkton’s three positions on the Mount Abraham Unified School District Board on the ballot, incumbent representatives Justin Pearson (three-year term) and Barbara Crandall (three-year term) were unchallenged in seeking to keep the seats they were appointed to fill in May. MAUSD board member Kielee Pelland also ran uncontested for the remaining two years on a three-year seat she was appointed to fill in December.

Voters on Town Meeting Day agreed to eliminate the elected office of lister and instead appoint an assessor. 

Monkton voters weighed in on the Democratic and GOP presidential primaries. On the Republican side, former President Donald Trump received the most votes with 140, closely followed by Nikki Haley with 139. 

At the town’s annual meeting on Saturday, March 2, residents voted from the floor to approve $811,106.50 in proposed highway spending (a 7.1% decrease) and $901,418.82 in general fund expenditures (a 15.8% increase). Residents also signed off on appropriations to 29 social service agencies, totaling $30,197. 

Voters in the Mount Abraham Unified School District said no to $37 million in school spending by a tally of 1,341 to 1,113. Read more here.

NEW HAVEN

New Haven voters on Town Meeting Day elected a new face to represent the town on the Mount Abraham Unified School District Board. Ashley Bessette was unchallenged for the open three-year seat and succeeds former school board member Sarah LaPerle. 

Kathi J. Apgar is also won her uncontested bid to finish out the two-year term on the MAUSD board that she was appointed to fill this past April.

Also on Town Meeting Day, selectboard incumbents John R. Roleau (two-year term) and Bruce Many (three-year term) won re-election. Both ran unopposed. 

New Haven voters approved: 

• $814,246 in general fund expenses, a 5.1% increase. 

• $1,176,162 for road fund spending, down 8.5%. 

• $3,400 in voted appropriations for local organizations. An additional $26,558.25 in appropriations for 19 other organizations are included in the proposed general fund budget and detailed in the town report. New Haven voters last year agreed to include requests for funding from organizations that had successfully petitioned for five consecutive years in the town budget.

Additionally, voters agreed to spend up to $20,000 from the town’s Reserve Facilities Fund to make repairs to the geothermal system in the town offices and library. 

ELIZA SPENCER SPEAKS at Addison’s town meeting.
Independent photo/Steve James

In presidential primary voting in New Haven, President Joe Biden earned 163 votes on the Democrat side. In the GOP contest, New Haven voters supported Nikki Haley over former president Donald Trump, 167-149.  

Voters in the Mount Abraham Unified School District said no to $37 million in school spending by a tally of 1,341 to 1,113. Read more here.

ORWELL

The town of Orwell will see two new selectboard members after results came in for Tuesday’s Town Meeting Day election. Incumbent Thomas Audet did not seek re-election and Les Wood was elected to a two-year seat taking Audet’s place. And incumbent Gary Murdoch fell in his bid for re-election to challenger Robert Barnes, who won a three-year seat on the Orwell selectboard. The vote tally in that race was 206 for Barnes and 135 for Murdoch.

Results on the rest of the election slate were pretty tame. Earning one-year seats in their jobs were moderator Michael Audet, Town Clerk Betty Walker, and Treasurer and Trustee of Public Funds Bryan S. Young.

Orwell’s Peter Stone, who is vice chair of that body, was unopposed for re-election to a three-year term on the Slate Valley Unified Union School District, or SVUU, school board, but official results were unavailable on Wednesday morning.

Orwell residents approved all the financial questions put to them on Town Meeting Day. The largest, as usual, was the town budget. Voters approved spending $1,778,548 in 2024, with $926,263 being raised in taxes, and the rest raised from grants and other non-tax revenues. That represents a spending increase of $413,836, or 30.3% over the current year. The increase in tax ask was not nearly so steep — about 11.8% or a tad less than $98,000.

Orwell also OK’d proposed $103,441 in sewer spending, which would be paid by users of the system.

Another prominent appropriation that was approved was $5,000 to complete paining of the Wright Memorial Library Building.

Tuesday’s in-person town meeting was a little longer than usual — two hours.

Orwell voters also cast ballots on the proposed SVUU spending for the coming year is $31,021,635, which represents an increase of $2,965,235, or about 10.1%, over the amount warned last year. Voters in the district rejected the budget, 1,538 no to 1,004 yes.

In Orwell’s presidential primary voting, on the Republican side Nikki Haley and Donald Trump each received 122 votes, while on the Democratic side Biden received 94 out of the 112 votes cast.

PANTON

With no contested races for office on Panton’s Town Meeting Day ballot, residents’ major decisions were made on both town and Addison Northwest School District spending.

All balloting on financial questions and on candidates in Panton were done by Australian ballot on Tuesday. 

Unopposed incumbent selectboard member Teresa Boucher was returned to office with 157 votes, and unopposed incumbent Meddie Perry was returned to the Vergennes-Panton Water District board with 167. Martha DeGraaf was elected as moderator. 

JOANNA DORIA AND Ripton Elementary School Principal Meg Cheresnick chat before the start of town meeting.
Independent photo/Megan James

Residents backed, by a 115-47 tally, the Panton selectboard’s proposed FY’25 municipal budget of $1,219,693 to handle town business and maintain town roads. 

Town officials said that figure included all spending proposals, including reserve funds and nonprofit appropriations voters approved separately. 

Residents backed, by a 164-41 margin, a proposal to place $70,500 in Panton’s eight reserve funds, notably including $30,000 for highway equipment, $20,000 for highway projects, and $10,000 for truck tires. 

By a vote of 160-37, voters also supported $13,401 of town donations to nonprofits.

The total of all that spending represented an increase of about $288,000, or 25%, from amounts approved a year ago. 

Major drivers of the higher spending include:

• $90,000 for a new dump truck, representing the first payments on a purchase approved by voters in 2023.

• $60,000 for a new pickup truck.

• About $48,000 for higher wages and benefits for highway crew and town office workers, notably health insurance as well as pay.

• An increase of $5,000 to $70,500 in the reserve funds.

• $10,000 more for the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad, which is upping its per capita request to the towns it serves.

• About $12,000 more for first-responder fire protection from the Vergennes Fire Department.

In presidential primary voting in Panton, on the Republican side, Nikki Haley defeated Donald Trump, 55-45, and on the Democratic side Joe Biden pulled 82 of the 97 votes cast. 

The five municipalities in the Addison Northwest School District defeated a $28 million budget, 1,282-1,012. Read more here.

RIPTON

Ripton residents on Tuesday decided two contested selectboard races and approved all the financial requests on their town meeting agenda. 

Bill Hunsinger topped Chris Smith, 138-96, in the race for a one-year term on the selectboard.

Giles Hoyler defeated Milo Tudor, 181-50, in a separate race for a three-year term on the panel.

All other local elections on the ballot were uncontested, but Ripton residents made their voices heard in the presidential primaries. On the Democratic side, Joe Biden earned 122 votes; the next closest challenger was Marianne Williamson, with five tallies.

On the GOP side, Nikki Haley’s 53 tallies topped second-place finisher Donald Trump, 53-41.

Residents approved a combined town/highway budget of $770,667 for Fiscal Year 2025, and a general fund ask of $281,067.

In other town meeting action, Ripton residents endorsed:

• $44,950 for the Ripton Volunteer Fire Department and Ripton First Response.

• $6,000 for the Ripton Cemetery Commission.

• $21,846 for various non-profit social service agencies that serve Ripton residents.

RIPTON FIRE CHIEF Chris Pike and Zoe Pike at town meeting on Monday night.
Independent photo/Megan James

Ripton residents participated in uncontested elections for four, three-year seats on the Addison Central School District board. Running unopposed were incumbent Mary Heather Noble and Laura Harthan for two Middlebury seats on the board, and incumbents Ellen Whelan-Wuest (Cornwall) and Barbara Wilson (Shoreham). All ACSD candidates were elected at-large in the seven-town district.

Voters in the seven-town Addison Central School District OK’d the $50 million spending plan with a vote of 2,081-1,157, which is convincing but not as large a margin as has been seen in many recent years. Read more here.

SALISBURY

Salisbury residents on Tuesday approved all the financial requests on their 2024 town meeting ballot.

They voted 262-35 in favor of the proposed FY’25 general fund spending of $387,725 and approved the proposed highway budget of $524,730 by a 234-42 margin.

Also earning Salisbury residents’ support were:

• A request for $17,868, to provide the town with mosquito eradication services through the Otter Creek Watershed Insect Control District. That measure passed by a relatively close 166-140 margin.

• A request to apply approximately $30,000 in budget surplus to help offset taxes. That passed, 268-24.

• Requests totaling $104,604 to fund a variety of non-profit agencies that serve Salisbury residents. Among the payees: The Lake Dunmore/Fern Lake Association Milfoil Protection Program ($25,000), and the Salisbury Volunteer Fire Department ($59,069).

There were no contested elections on this year’s ballot. Christopher Andres and Robbie Devoid were elected to terms of two years and three years, respectively, on the selectboard. Town Clerk Allen Hathaway received a mandate for another year in office, as did John Nuceder as town moderator.

Salisbury residents weighed in on the presidential primaries. On the Republican side, they favored Nikki Haley over Donald Trump by a 90-81 margin. On the Democratic side, President Joe Biden received 100 tallies, with Marianne Williamson getting 4 in second place.

Salisbury residents participated in uncontested elections for four, three-year seats on the Addison Central School District board. Running unopposed were incumbent Mary Heather Noble and Laura Harthan for two Middlebury seats on the board, and incumbents Ellen Whelan-Wuest (Cornwall) and Barbara Wilson (Shoreham). All ACSD candidates were elected at-large in the seven-town district.

Voters in the seven-town Addison Central School District OK’d the $50 million spending plan with a vote of 2,081-1,157, which is convincing but not as large a margin as has been seen in many recent years. Read more here.

SHOREHAM

A NIKKI HALEY sign was spotted on the towering gorilla in Leicester on Town Meeting Day.
Photo by Jonathan Blake

Shoreham residents at their Monday evening town meeting agreed to purchase a new truck for the local highway department, approved their municipal budget, and adopted a new policy for entertaining annual social service agency requests.

Earning an OK from the town meeting floor was a selectboard request to spend up to $272,000 on the new truck (with plows), and the town will apply proceeds from the sale of the current truck (a 2015 Western Star) to help defray the costs of the purchase.

Voters agreed to limit their community’s town meeting funding petitioning requirement to nonprofits requesting money for the first time, or for those that request substantial increases. Repeat requesters pitching the same amounts will now be exempt from re-petitioning.

The proposed Fiscal Year 2025 highway budget of $1,043,696, and general fund request of $443,509, both passed by voice vote.

There were no contested elections on Shoreham’s 2024 Town Meeting Day ballot. Molly Francis and Rebecca Kerr were re-elected to one-year terms on the selectboard. Loren Wood was unopposed for a three-year term on the panel.

Kathryn Flagg had no competition for a five-year term as library trustee.

No one stepped up for terms as town moderator, town constable, and for three separate terms on the planning commission.

Shoreham residents weighed in on the presidential primaries. On the Republican side, they favored Nikki Haley over Donald Trump, 84-66. On the Democratic side, President Joe Biden received 86 tallies, with Dean Phillips getting 4.

Shoreham residents participated in uncontested elections for four, three-year seats on the Addison Central School District board. Running unopposed were incumbent Mary Heather Noble and Laura Harthan for two Middlebury seats, and incumbents Ellen Whelan-Wuest and Barbara Wilson for seats representing Cornwall and Shoreham, respectively. All ACSD candidates were elected at-large in the seven-town district.

Voters in the seven-town Addison Central School District OK’d the $50 million spending plan with a vote of 2,081-1,157, which is convincing but not as large a margin as has been seen in many recent years. Read more here.

STARKSBORO

On Town Meeting Day, Starksboro resident David Schmidt earned 101 write-in votes for a three-year-term on the town’s selectboard, enough to win him the open seat. Robert Briggs received 24 write-in votes. 

Selectboard incumbents Koran Cousino (two-year-term) and John Painter (one-year-term) won re-election. Both ran unopposed. 

MAUSD board member Steve Rooney was also unchallenged in his bid for another three-year-term.  

Starksboro voters on Town Meeting Day cast ballots in the Democratic and GOP presidential primaries. On the Republican side, Donald Trump earned 110 votes, enough to prevail over Nikki Haley, who received 100 votes. President Joe Biden earned 166 votes on the Democratic side. 

Starksboro residents at their annual gathering on Saturday, March 2, passed all items on their Town Meeting warning. The 89 residents in attendance voted from the floor to approve: 

• $1,201,874 in general fund spending, an increase of $52,296, or 4.5%, with $917,709 to be raised in taxes.

• $62,100 for the Fire Equipment Reserve Fund, an increase of $4,605, or 8%.

• $119,344 for the Road Equipment Reserve Fund, an increase of $6,755, or 6%.

ROBINSON SCHOOL PRINCIPAL Edorah Frazer speaks at the Starksboro town meeting.
Independent photo/Steve James

• $44,192 for the Starksboro Public Library, an increase of $525, or 1.2%.

• $7,590 for the Bristol Rescue Squad to provide ambulance service to parts of Starksboro.

Voters in Starksboro also agreed to decrease the town’s planning commission from seven members to five and approved a total of $87,230 in voted appropriations to 36 nonprofit organizations in Starksboro and other parts of the county.

Voters in the Mount Abraham Unified School District said no to $37 million in school spending by a tally of 1,341 to 1,113. Read more here.

VERGENNES

With no contested races on the Vergennes ballot, and the city council responsible for setting the city’s annual budget by the end of June, the major decisions Vergennes residents made on Tuesday were are on the separate Addison Northwest School District ballot. 

The five municipalities in the Addison Northwest School District defeated a $28 million budget, 1,282-1,012. Read more here.

On the city ballot Deputy Mayor Dickie Austin and Councilors Jill Murray-Killon, Mark Koenig and John Montgomery all ran unopposed. The vote totals were: Austin 525, Koenig 521, Murray-Killon 481, and Montgomery 446. 

Koenig also ran unopposed to remain on the ANWSD board and received 522 votes. 

Also on the ballot, Neil Swenor ran unopposed for a three-year vacancy on the Vergennes-Panton Water District board and received 544 votes. 

Residents also approved, 565-58, an updated 25-year lease for the Vergennes Opera House to share city hall with municipal offices. That lease re-do is in part necessary due to the theater’s planned all-access project, which will also improve handicap access to city offices when completed.

Twenty nonprofits that sought financial support from city residents all received backing. 

In Tuesday’s presidential primary, on the Democratic side Joe Biden earned 273 of  337 votes cast in the city, and on the Republican side Nikki Haley edged Donald Trump, 141-133.

WALTHAM

Waltham residents gathered at their town hall on Monday, March 4, to make all decisions on town business from the floor of town meeting.

That business included electing a new selectboard member for a three-year term in a contested race at Monday’s meeting. Anthony Duprey and Margaret Roddy were both nominated, and in paper balloting Duprey prevailed, 26 to 13. Duprey replaces incumbent Andrew Martin on the board; Martin had said he preferred not to be re-nominated. 

Residents also not only backed the selectboard’s proposal for $277,863 of spending for the upcoming 2025 fiscal year, but they also voted to add another $6,000 to the total. That new amount is about $17,800 higher than spending approved in March 2023. It was not immediately clear from Tuesday night’s reporting by town officials where residents preferred that money to be spent, or if there was a specific preferred goal. 

SOMEONE’S ALWAYS CROCHETING at town meeting. Here’s Lausanne Allen at the Starksboro meeting.
Independent photo/Steve James

The original budget called for $141,013 to support town government operations, an increase of about 15%, or a little more than $18,000, from current spending. Line items that sent the budget higher included payroll, the town’s contract with Vergennes for fire protection, and mowing. 

Residents also approved $107,850 for road maintenance, a decrease of more than $10,000 from FY24.

In a separate road maintenance request, the selectboard earned residents’ approval to bond for up to $275,000 and 15 years to fund replacement of a culvert on South Middlebrook Road. The board said the estimated cost of the replacement is $441,000, but Vermont Town Highway Structures Program Grant portion will foot $200,000 of the bill. The impact of that bond would not affect this year’s budget, officials said.

Another separate article approved by residents asked Waltham to devote $10,692 of tax revenue to support the Bixby Library. That amount is based on a per capita figure the library board asked from each of the towns the Vergennes library serves and was unchanged from its previous level.

 Residents also supported requests from 16 nonprofits that sought a total of $ 4,329 in town appropriations. 

The only selectboard proposal residents rejected was a recommendation to use a $20,000 surplus to lower property taxes.

In presidential primary voting, Waltham gave President Joe Biden 52 of the 60 votes cast on the Democrat side, and supported Nikki Haley over Donald Trump on the Republican side, 42-26. 

The five municipalities in the Addison Northwest School District defeated a $28 million budget, 1,282-1,012. Read more here.

WEYBRIDGE

Weybridge residents at their town meeting passed all financial items on their warning, including a $25,060 request that will allow locals to obtain fiscal year 2025 memberships to Middlebury’s Ilsley Memorial Library.

The Independent last November reported details on the proposal, which recognizes that Weybridge currently doesn’t have a functioning public library. Weybridge’s Cotton Free Library is a beloved local structure but hasn’t been used for its intended purpose since the 1980s. The Ilsley Library has the capacity and resources to accommodate Weybridge patrons.

Weybridge voters at their annual gathering also overwhelmingly supported a proposed FY’25 highway budget of $583,850, and a general fund ask of $193,782.

In other business at their meeting, and in Australian ballot voting on Tuesday, Weybridge residents:

• Approved $30,000 for fire protection.

• OK’d $13,000 to sustain the local recycling program.

• Endorsed a combined $28,425 for various social service organizations that serve Weybridge residents.

• Cast ballots in the presidential primaries. On the Democratic side, President Joe Biden earned 139 votes; the next closest challenger was Marianne Williamson, with four tallies.

On the GOP side, Nikki Haley’s 74 tallies soundly beat second-place finisher Donald Trump’s 24 votes.

There were no contested elections on this year’s Town Meeting Day ballot. Incumbents Kelly Flynn and Stacey Rainey were unopposed for terms of two and three years, respectively, on the Weybridge selectboard. Spence Putnam won another one-year term as town moderator.

Weybridge residents participated in uncontested elections for four, three-year seats on the Addison Central School District board. Running unopposed were incumbent Mary Heather Noble and Laura Harthan for two Middlebury seats on the board, and incumbents Ellen Whelan-Wuest (Cornwall) and Barbara Wilson (Shoreham). ACSD candidates were elected at-large in the seven-town district.

MODERATOR KEEGAN TIERNEY conducts the action at Starksboro’s town hall.
Independent photo/Steve James

Voters in the seven-town Addison Central School District OK’d the $50 million spending plan with a vote of 2,081-1,157, which is convincing but not as large a margin as has been seen in many recent years. Read more here.

WHITING

The highlight of a quiet town meeting at the Whiting Town Hall on Tuesday evening was probably the contested race for a three-year term on the Whiting selectboard. 

All town matters are handled from the floor of town meeting in Whiting, so while someone nominated incumbent Bob Wood for the position, someone else nominated Jennifer Erwin for the seat. A paper ballot was taken, and Wood came out the winner, 32-19.

Other incumbent town officers who won re-election at the meeting were lister Rani Fallon for three years, auditor Pat Mattison for three years three-year job as auditor, and Fallon also for one year as collector of delinquent taxes. Incumbent first constable Rusty Brigham chose not to run; townspeople elected Mike Dame for a one-year term on that job.

The municipal spending plan of $487,675 passed as warned. It represents an increase of $31,415, or 6.9%, over what Whiting approved last year. It requires $315,250 in taxes, which is $24,946, or 8.6%, more than last year.

Town Clerk Heather Bouchard said there was some discussion at Tuesday’s meeting about why road spending was increasing. It was explained that there was not as much paving done last summer because of all the rain, so the town would try to catch up this year. In answer to a question, a selectboard member said the food shelf allocation in the budget was lowered because the agency said it didn’t need as much this year, Bouchard said.

In the GOP presidential primary, Donald Trump beat Nikki Haley, 36-26. In the Democratic primary, Joe Biden won 33 of 38 votes.

Whiting residents saw the proposed school budget go down to defeat on Tuesday. The six member towns in the Otter Valley Unified Union (OVUU) soundly defeated the proposed 2024-2025 spending proposal of $27,247,823 — with 1,325 votes opposed, 891 in favor. Read more here.

Whiting residents also cast ballots for two OVUU board seats: Fernanda Canales of Goshen (1,633 votes) and Natalie Steen of Brandon (1,745) both were returned to their seats. Five more OVUU board seats were on the ballot with no nominees, and no one gained enough write-ins to win a spot.

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