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Town and Village

Town Meeting Day is Tuesday

A summary of the agendas for Windham County towns

Voters throughout the county will assemble on Town Meeting Day on Tuesday, March 6, unless otherwise specified.

The 21 Windham County towns are listed here with the election information that was available by press time.

This roundup was prepared by Randolph T. Holhut and Wendy M. Levy.

Athens

Annual Town Meeting takes place at 10 a.m. at the elementary school.

New reserve funds: Voters will be asked whether the town should establish a Capital Reserve Fund to pay for emergency spending not covered by FEMA, as well as a Long Term Highway Project Fund.

Fixing up the Town Office: Voters will consider authorizing the Selectboard to spend up to $115,000 to renovate the Athens Town Office, and to borrow up to $77,000 of the cost with a short-term loan.

Maintaining the Meetinghouse: Voters will consider spending $15,000 to maintain and stabilize the Athens Meetinghouse.

School funding: Voters will be asked whether to approve the Athens/Grafton joint contract budget of $1,355,883.98 for K-6 expenses for the 2017-18 school year, and $1,065,904 for the Athens School District ($16,364.55 per pupil, a 20.51 percent increase from the current year).

Social-services spending: Voters will consider several requests from local social-services agencies, totaling $4,180.

Brattleboro

Elections: Town and school district elections will take place at the Selectboard Meeting Room at the Municipal Center, 230 Main St., from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. by Australian ballot.

Representative Town Meeting takes place Saturday, March 24, at 8:30 a.m., in the multipurpose room of Brattleboro Area Middle School.

Brookline

Town Meeting takes place at 9 a.m. in the multipurpose room downstairs at the Sunny Lane Day Care building.

Elections: After nominating a town moderator, voters will elect town officers, including town clerk, town treasurer, and collector of delinquent taxes.

Town budget and taxes: Voters will be asked to approve $301,517 for the General and Highway Funs, then to decide the dates to collect town taxes.

Social services: Voters will be asked to approve $6,206 to support 19 nonprofit organizations serving the town.

Date change: Voters will consider moving Town Meeting Day to the Saturday preceding the first Tuesday in March.

Miscellany: Local state representatives will start off the meeting with a presentation/report on what is going on at the Statehouse. A second break in Town Meeting will occur at 11 a.m., when the Brookline School District meeting will be held. There are two school director positions that need to be filled.

Dover

The Annual Town Meeting and Town School District Meeting are set for Dover Town Hall on the Common at 10 a.m.

Australian ballot voting: The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Last School District meeting: Now that Dover and Wardboro have formed the River Valleys Unified School District, this marks the last year that the Dover School District will meet before the merger takes effect in 2019.

Budgets: Voters will consider a proposed general fund budget of $2,208,391 and a highway budget of $1,396,483. They will also be asked to add $650,000 for the capital paving fund, $250,000 for the capital equipment fund, and $80,000 for the capital building improvement fund.

Dummerston

Town Meeting begins at 10 a.m. at Dummerston School; the school district meeting will be held first, with the town’s portion to follow.

Election: Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Property-tax exemptions: Voters will decide to grant one-year tax exemptions to the Evening Star Grange and the Green Mountain Camp.

Money matters: Voters will decide whether to raise $170,000 through taxes for the Capital Fund. Voters will also consider total FY19 general fund expenditures of $458,136, down from last year’s total of $512,093. Notable decreases are in line items for diesel fuel, emergency management, the Windham Solid Waste Management District assessment, and clerical wages.

Highway spending: Voters will be asked to authorize an expenditure of $295,000 from the Capital Fund for a new town grader. For the highway budget, voters will decide whether to approve $529,595. Although this is an increase of about $17,000 over last year’s budget, it’s almost $38,000 less than FY17’s actual Highway Department expenditures.

New fire truck: Voters will consider buying a new fire truck for $326,000, to be financed over a five-year period, and to authorize the first-year’s payment of $65,000.

School budget: Voters will consider a $2,945,600 school budget, which will result in equalized per pupil spending of $17,802, 0.3 percent lower than the current year.

Climate change: Voters will consider an advisory resolution that would ask the state of Vermont to halt any new or expanded fossil fuel infrastructure, firmly commit to at least 90 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2050, and ensure that the transition to a post-fossil fuel economy is fair and equitable and environmentally sound.

Grafton

Annual Town Meeting begins at Grafton Elementary School at 10 a.m. Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

School budget: Voters will be asked to consider $1,355,883 for Athens/Grafton K–6 expenses and $1,003,669 for the Grafton Town School District. Spending per equalized pupil ($16,021) represents a 19.40 percent increase.

Town expenses: Voters will consider $149,000 for capital expenses, $697,700 for highways, $387,860 for the Selectboard’s budget, $36,500 for emergency services, and $9,741 for social-service agencies.

Fixing Town Hall: Voters will be asked to deposit $100,000 from the general fund surplus into the Town Hall Restoration Fund.

Guilford

Annual Town Meeting begins at 10 a.m. in the Guilford Central School gymnasium. Polls are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Town budget: Voters will consider a highway fund budget of $968,783 and a general fund budget of $892,675, for a total of $1,861,458. This is almost $55,000 more than last year’s approved budget. Other budgetary items include decisions on appropriating $230,063 for the volunteer fire department, and $6,363 for the Southern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS).

Windham Regional Commission: Voters will also decide whether the town should continue its membership in the Windham Regional Commission, and to raise and appropriate $4,761 for the town’s share of its expense.

Social-service organizations: Voters will consider funding $13,780. The largest portions of this line item would go to Visiting Nurse & Hospice for VT and NH, Guilford Cares, and SEVCA. It is about $7,000 lower than last year.

Tax exemption: The Broad Brook Community Center Inc., the new owner of the Broad Brook Grange building in Guilford Center, is seeking a five-year property tax exemption.

Climate change: Voters will consider an advisory resolution that would ask the state of Vermont to halt any new or expanded fossil fuel infrastructure, firmly commit to at least 90 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2050, and ensure that the transition to a post-fossil fuel economy is fair and equitable and environmentally sound.

Halifax

Voters will meet at 10 a.m. at Halifax Elementary School in West Halifax. The town portion of the meeting starts at 10 a.m.; the school portion, at 1 p.m.

Elections: Polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Town expenses: Voters will decide whether to approve Selectboard and highway expenditures of $1,369,392, of which $1,179,892 shall be raised by taxes and $189,500 by non-tax revenues.

School expenses: Voters will decide by Australian ballot whether to approve the Southern Valley Unified Union School District budget of $2,773,909. If approved, it will result in education spending of $14,410 per equalized pupil. This is the first budget of the new school district, which also includes Readsboro.

Social services: Voters will decide whether to appropriate $19,390 for local social-service agencies, the Whitingham Free Public Library, Halifax EMS, and the Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice.

Three or five? Voters will consider whether to expand the Selectboard from three members to five members.

Jamaica

Town Meeting begins at 10 a.m. at Jamaica Town Hall. The School portion of the meeting begins first, with the town portion set for 1 p.m. Polls are open for Australian ballot from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Elections: Voters will elect a moderator, hear the report of the professional auditors, and elect a Selectboard member for a term of three years (by ballot); two Selectboard members for a term of one year (by ballot); lister for a term of three years (by ballot); first constable; second constable; town grand juror; town agent; trustee of public funds; agent to deed land; and library trustee.

Town budget: Articles ask voters to authorize a transfer of the prior year revenue surplus of $144,359, of which $55.814 will be used for the first payment on the new town garage, $50,000 for the town building reserve fund, and the remainder to lower the amount of taxes to be raised.

Voters will see what sum of money they’ll vote “to pay the town’s running expenses and how it’ll be collected; authorize the Selectboard to borrow money in anticipation of taxes; and authorize the board to spend “unanticipated funds such as grants, gifts and/or interest.”

School budget: Voters will consider a $1,210,877 budget for the Jamaica School District which, if approved, would result in education spending of $17,410 per equalized pupil, or 2.71 percent higher than the current year.

Londonderry

Voters will meet at the Town Hall, 139 Middletown Rd., South Londonderry, at 9:30 a.m.

Policing: Voters are asked whether to fund $86,000 for contracting with the Vermont State Police for policing the town.

Highway equipment: Voters are asked whether to approve raising $120,000 for the highway equipment reserve fund.

Reserve fund: Voters are asked to approve $100,000 for the Town Buildings Reserve Fund.

Organizations and associations: Shall the town vote to raise $20,000 for Champion Fire Company No. 5? $10,000 for the South Londonderry Library Association? $5,000 for the Bromley Observation Tower reconstruction fund? $5,307 for Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS)? A combined $28,945 for 19 other social service organizations?

Marlboro

Town Meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the Town House, with the school portion set to start at 9:10 a.m.

Australian ballot: Polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Town Office.

Town expenses: The town seeks $275,000 for the general fund, $360,000 for highways and their maintenance, $22,380 for emergency services, $3,000 for the Marlboro Mixer newsletter, and $3,234 for SeVEDS.

School expenses: The town seeks $2,614,368 for the next fiscal year, or $17,369 per equalized pupil. This figure represents a 1.2 percent increase.

Social services: Voters will consider $9,929 in spending for 12 agencies.

Climate change: Voters will consider an advisory resolution that would ask the state of Vermont to halt any new or expanded fossil fuel infrastructure, firmly commit to at least 90 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2050, and ensure that the transition to a post-fossil fuel economy is fair and equitable and environmentally sound.

Newfane

Town Meeting is at Union Hall on Tuesday, March 6, beginning at 9 a.m.

Budget: The proposed FY19 Newfane budget is $1,388,035, an increase of just over $4,000 from last year’s figures. The General Fund has gone down by about $4,000, for a proposed total of $643,385.

While a few line items increased — including the salaries of some town employees, and a larger allocation for professional development — they were equalized by a few large reductions. With the closing of the South Newfane and Williamsville Fire Department, the town no longer has to appropriate $20,000 to fund that entity. Other savings come from a decrease in the town’s Windham Solid Waste Management District’s assessment.

Highway Fund: The proposed Highway portion of the budget is $744,650. Last year’s budgeted amount was $736,550. The modest increase is mostly due to anticipated repairs to some of the town’s trucks, winter maintenance wages, equipment rentals, and winter sand. A few line items went down, including bridge materials, roadside mowing, diesel and other fuels, and costs associated with the town garage’s computer.

Putney

Meeting begins at 10 a.m. at Putney Central School, 182 Westminster Road. Town articles will be heard first, then school articles. Polls are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

New town clerk and treasurer: By Australian ballot, voters will decide whether to make the Town Clerk and Town Treasurer positions that are appointed by the Selectboard, rather than elected positions.

Budget: The proposed FY19 General Fund budget is $1,251,535. Last year, voters approved a $1,217,364 budget.

School spending: The town school budget of $3,262,078 is up for vote. Although the budget is slightly lower, projected spending per equalized pupil is up 1.8 percent over the current year.

Reserve funds: Voters will be asked to add to two reserve funds — for roof replacements and sidewalk repairs — and asked to approve transferring $10,000 for each from the Capital Reserve Fund.

SeVEDS: The Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies team seeks $8,106 for economic development in the Windham County region.

Tax exemptions: The town will vote on whether to grant municipal and education taxation exemptions on three properties for five years, beginning April 1: The Noyes House at 52 Kimball Hill, which is owned by Putney Cares, the Putney Community Center at 10 Christian Square, and the recreation area on Sand Hill Road, also owned by the Center.

Climate change: Voters will consider an advisory resolution that would ask the state of Vermont to halt any new or expanded fossil fuel infrastructure, firmly commit to at least 90 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2050, and ensure that the transition to a post-fossil fuel economy is fair and equitable and environmentally sound.

Rockingham

Town Meeting begins Monday, March 5, at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium (Bellows Falls Opera House) to act upon all articles to be voted on the floor.

Australian ballot: Voters go to the polls on March 6 at the Masonic Temple (61 Westminster St.) from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. to decide multiple school, local municipal, and town meeting articles by Australian ballot.

Municipal budget: Voters will consider a budget of $5,413,141 of which $4,487,846 will be raised by taxes. Rockingham Free Public Library seeks $412,352 for operating expenses, with $357,300 to be raised by taxes.

Schools: Rockingham School District voters will be asked to approve $9,776,950 in expenditures for the ensuing fiscal year, of which $16,781 is forecast to be spent per equalized student: a 3.09 percent decrease in spending over the current year.

Social services: Voters will consider a request for $82,053 to be allocated to 13 local social-service agencies.

Rainy day money: Voters will be asked to establish reserve funds for highway improvements ($50,000), the Rockingham Meeting House ($20,000), and the Rockingham Town Hall ($50,000).

A fire truck for BFFD: Voters will be asked to appropriate $25,000 as Rockingham’s contribution toward a grant that would buy a new pumper truck for the Bellows Falls Fire Department. The grant requires that the truck is to be “purchased, owned, housed, and maintained by the Bellows Falls Village Corporation.”

Stratton

The Annual Town Meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the Town Hall, 688 Stratton-Arlington Rd. The Annual School District meeting follows at 11.

Elections: Voters will decide elections for Selectboard (one three-year term, two one-year terms); Planning Commission (one four-year term, one one-year term to fill a vacancy); the lister, an auditor, the cemetery commissioner, a delinquent-tax collector, trustee of public funds, constable, grand juror, and the town agent.

Budget: Voters are asked to raise and appropriate $1,200,00.39 for the general fund and $878,700 for the highway fund. Town officials also seek $38,058 to support 24 local service organizations and $65,650 for the Stratton Mountain Volunteer Fire Company.

Tuition: Articles will the annual 2017-2018 tuition rate to the Mountain School at Winhall; the annual 2017-2018 tuition rate to Burr & Burton Academy up to $17,065 per pupil for grades 9-12; and the annual respective K-6 and 7-12 tuition rates to all other private or approved independent schools up to the announced Vermont Union Elementary School tuition rate.

Expenditures: District voters are asked to approve the School Board expending $690,592, “which is the amount the School Board has determined to be necessary for the ensuing fiscal year.” It is estimated that the proposed school budget, if approved, will result in education spending of $16,188 per equalized pupil, which is 2 percent higher than spending for the current year.

Land purchase: Voters will be asked to authorize the Selectboard to buy a four-acre parcel known as the Old Town Common from the Stratton School District for $200,000.

Townshend

Voters are asked to meet at Town Hall at 9 a.m. The School District Annual Meeting is at 9:05 a.m., with the town portion to follow.

Budget: Voters will be asked whether Townshend shall appropriate $537,482 to pay for the running expenses and liabilities of the town, $555,090 for the running expenses and liabilities of maintaining the town’s roads, $51,050 to support the town library; $10,000 for a Fire Department capital expenditure fund for a future pumper; and $1,750 for the old cemetery fund.

Town school budget: Voters are asked whether to back a $1,524,321 town school budget, an estimated $20,144 per equalized pupil, a 16.05 percent increase over the current year.

Social services: Voters will decide whether to raise $17,106 to support social services.

Sound forestry: Will voters authorize the Selectboard to acquire, by gift or purchase, land for municipal forest, to promote reforestation, water conservation, and good forestry practices?

Vernon

Vernon Town and Town School District Meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 5, at the Vernon Elementary School cafeteria. The second night of Town Meeting, if needed, will take place there Wednesday, March 7, at 6:30 p.m.

Elections: Voting takes place on Tuesday, March 6, in the downstairs of the Town Office building, and polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Selectboard Chair Josh Unruh is unopposed for a three-year seat on the board, while Chris Parker is unopposed for two-year term. Incumbent School Board members Mike Hebert and Sandy Morrison are also unopposed for a three-year and a two-year term, respectively.

Town budget: Voters will choose whether to approve the $1,869,157 total general fund expenditure. Voters will also decide whether to appropriate $189,457 for the funding of items approved in the capital plan, as well as $90,550 for the Town Road Upgrading Fund and $50,000 for the Town Culvert Fund.

Library: Voters will consider a total Library Fund expenditure of $86,468 for the Vernon Free Library, as well as elect four library trustees.

Garbage time: Voters will decide whether to appropriate $26,963 in tax money for the Windham Solid Waste District Assessment, and $45,000 for municipal refuse, recycling and compost disposal.

School budget: Voters will decide, by Australian ballot, whether to approve a proposed school budget of $5,730,650. The proposed school budget, if approved, will result in education spending of $15,300 per equalized pupil, which is 8.2 percent lower than spending for the current year.

Wardsboro

The School District’s Annual Meeting is Monday, March 5, 7 p.m., at Town Hall. The 233nd Annual Town Meeting is set for Tuesday, March 6, at 9 a.m. at Town Hall.

Last School District meeting: Now that Wardsboro has joined Dover to form the River Valleys Unified School District, this marks the last year that the Wardsboro School District will meet before the merger takes effect in 2019.

Westminster

Annual Town and School Meeting takes place Saturday, March 3, at 10 a.m., at the Bellows Falls Union High School auditorium. If necessary, any remaining articles from the Saturday session will be taken up there on Tuesday, March 7, at 8 p.m.

Elections: Elections take place by Australian ballot Tuesday, March 6, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Westminster Institute on Route 5.

Budget: Voters will consider a town budget of $1,988,216 as well as spending $130,000 for the Town Equipment Reserve Fund; $15,000 for the Bridge Reserve Fund; $9,534 for SeVEDS workforce and economic development coordination, and $8,400 for the Westminster West Public Library.

School budget: Voters will consider $4,734,010 in spending for the Town School District, or $16,924 per equalized pupil, an 11.6 percent increase.

Whitingham

Town Meeting starts at 10 a.m. at the Twin Valley Middle/High School, followed by the School District Meeting to discuss any business other than two ballot questions.

Australian ballot: Polls are open for elections and school district Australian ballot questions (on school district officers and the school budget) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Financial matters: Voters will consider $557,044 for general use, $7,775 for upkeep of the Town Hill Common, $69,127 for the Town Fire Department, $20,000 for the Fire Department Equipment Fund, $1,264,647 for highways, $85,000 for the Highway Equipment Fund, $79,428 for the library, $10,000 for the Municipal Facilities Fund, $10,000 for Deerfield Valley Rescue, and $17,400 for cemeteries.

Wilmington

Town Meeting begins at 10 a.m. at Twin Valley Elementary School on Route 100.

Australian ballot/elections: The Australian ballot portion of Annual Town Meeting takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Schools: Voters will be asked whether to approve a town school budget of $9,445,523, or $19,078 per equalized pupil. That is an 11.6 percent higher per-pupil cost than the current year.

Town finances: Voters will consider a $2,202,095 general fund budget and a $1.410,174 road budget.

Funding existing funds: Voters will be asked to appropriate $265,000 for the highway equipment capital fund and $125,000 for the fire department. Other articles will address capital fund needs for bridges ($35,000), Memorial Hall ($20,000), the library ($12,000), the firehouse ($5,000), the playground ($1,000), and the Town Hall ($5,000).

Funding new funds: Voters will be asked to combine the playground, school field, and housing capital reserve funds into a new capital fund — Public Lands and Fences. New capital funds for police equipment ($20,000) and transfer station ($5,000) are also proposed.

Recycling: Voters will decide whether to approve $27,000 to fund recycling at the former town garage site.

Windham

Annual Town Meeting begins 10 a.m. in the Town Hall.

Schools: Voters will consider a $87,103 budget for FY19 for the Windham Elementary School District.

Budget items: Voters will debate spending $192,461 for the General Fund, $398,338 for road maintenance, $75,000 for repaving and bridge repair, and $30,000 for the Windham Volunteer Fire Company.

Funds: Voters will consider spending $250 for the Londonderry Food Shelf and $100 for Gerda’s Equine Rescue.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #448 (Wednesday, February 28, 2018).

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