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Town and Village

Town to halt mailing annual report in 2017

GUILFORD—At its Jan. 11 meeting, the Selectboard voted to stop automatically mailing a copy of the town report every year to every registered Guilford voter. This change begins with the 2017 Town Report; the 2016 version will be mailed as usual.

Although the vote was unanimous, it required some discussion.

Board member Dick Clark expressed his concern that “we’re doing away with all town traditions,” and did not want to see a day when the town only issued electronic versions of the town report.

Anne Rider, who also serves on the board, assured Clark the paper version of the town report is “still used and important."

Also, nobody was proposing to completely do away with the paper version.

Mailing a hard copy of the town report to all Guilford voters, whether or not they want it, is “an expensive proposition some of us feel could be best done by asking people to let us know if they would like a printed report, or if they can get it online or come into [the Town] Office to get one,” said Board Chair Sheila Morse.

Town Administrator Katie Buckley noted approximately 100 copies of the town report “come back undelivered” out of the 1,200 or so that are mailed out every year. The town still pays postage on undeliverable mail.

Clark asked his colleagues what other towns have decided.

Morse said “many other towns are going electronic.”

Ian Kiehle, who was in attendance filming the meeting for Brattleboro Community Television, said the Vernon Selectboard had just decided to do away with automatically mailing the town report.

The board, and Buckley, discussed options for getting the word out, such as sending out postcards, including a notice with the tax bill, and putting a notice on Front Porch Forum.

“Legally, all we have to do is warn it in the paper,” noted board member Troy Revis.

The town officials listed all the ways residents could get their paper copy of the town report: sign up online, call the town offices and ask for one, and pick one up at Town Meeting.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #341 (Wednesday, January 27, 2016). This story appeared on page C1.

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