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Selectboard denies SeVEDS funding request

DUMMERSTON—If officials with the Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies want funding from Town Meeting this year, they’ll have to work harder to get it.

During the Jan. 4 regular Selectboard meeting, the Board discussed the organization’s request. SeVEDS, a nonprofit affiliated with the Brattleboro Development Credit Corp., seeks $5,592 in taxpayer funding — $3 per person — and asked the Selectboard to either include them in the municipal budget or create a separate article in the Town Meeting agenda to allow voters to consider supporting their efforts.

According to information shared by Selectboard Chair Zeke Goodband, SeVEDS officials aren’t interested in lesser funding: They want the full $5,592 or nothing at all.

The Selectboard chose a third way: in a 1-3-1 vote, with Jerelyn Wilson abstaining, the Board denied the request, and suggested SeVEDS submit a petition asking for inclusion on the agenda.

Board Vice-Chair Steve Glabach said the advantage of SeVEDS filing a petition with the Selectboard is that “[we] would know there’s a segment of the community that supports this.”

Glabach noted “about 80 people” would need to sign the petition for inclusion in the Town Meeting agenda.

A contractor and owner of a maple farm, Glabach said his concern with SeVEDS is they “don’t reach out to people in my industry,” and smaller businesses in Dummerston.

Wilson asked her colleagues, “Does it make a difference to us what other towns do or don’t do” about SeVEDS funding?

“My mother used to say, ‘If the neighbor’s kid jumped off the roof, would you do that?’” Goodband said. “I’d rather focus on what we do here.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #393 (Wednesday, February 1, 2017). This story appeared on page C2.

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