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Voters speed through agenda

Spending for SeVEDS is only sticking point

GUILFORD—At the Town Meeting registration table in the Guilford Central School gymnasium, a French-made black wool beret waited for its owner, a “lost-and-found” sign next to it.

“Someone brought the hat from last year’s meeting,” when they found it was left forgotten, Town Moderator Rick Zamore said. “Guilford is a town that never forgets!”

No articles were defeated or successfully amended this year at Town Meeting, and residents heaped praise on the road crew, Zamore said.

“Everything zipped through,” he noted.

There was one unsuccessful amendment, though.

During the discussion on Article 8, which asked voters to give $6,363 to the Southeastern Vermont Development Strategies, “some people questioned why Guilford is paying $3 per head when Brattleboro pays $2 per head,” Zamore said.

An amendment to raise and appropriate SeVEDS funding at $2 per resident failed, he said, and the original article passed.

Selectboard member Richard Wizansky noted the comments “were not so much about [SeVEDS’s] work, but about the amount Guilford pays versus what Brattleboro pays.”

“One person spoke up about the importance of instead supporting organizations that do direct services” for residents in need, Wizansky added.

“Other than that,” Zamore said, there was some debate on Article 14, 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.

“A number of people spoke in favor of it,” he said, and the article passed with “one or two dissenting votes.”

The article asking voters to grant a five-year tax exemption to the Broad Brook Community Center, where the Broad Brook Grange organization meets, passed “without much debate,” said Sara Coffey.

Coffey, a member of the BBCC and the Grange, also chairs the task force working to renovate and upgrade the building.

“There are several properties that have had a long tax-exemption in town,” said Coffey, who added that “the town isn’t losing any tax money” by passing this article because it has historically received this waiver.

Coffey said the building’s usage would not only be consistent with its past use, but would “be even more open” to the community and its needs.

Attendance seemed at least on par with previous years, and “maybe more people this year,” Wizansky said. He pointed out the after-meeting tradition of sitting down for a meal with one’s neighbors at the long rows of cafeteria tables. “The town that eats lunch together ... loves together!” Wizansky said.

Zamore said he noticed “more children attending than we had in a long time.”

When asked for possible reasons, Zamore attributed the increase to “more young people in town, and there used to be daycare during Town Meeting. It would be nice to bring that back, but it’s nice to have [the children] here. They were very well behaved.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #449 (Wednesday, March 7, 2018). This story appeared on page D1.

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