Town Meeting briefs
Some mixed messages at the bake sale table in Putney, as BUHS student Samantha Cragin keeps an eye on things.

Town Meeting briefs


Warrant OK'd with little debate

DOVER - Voters approved a $2.20 million General Fund budget and a $1.31 million Highway Fund budget for fiscal 2016.

Capital appropriations that were approved included $450,000 for the Capital Paving Fund, $200,000 for the Capital Equipment Fund, and $75,000 for the Capital Building Improvement Fund, and $65,000 for the Town of Dover Legal Defense Fund.

Voters approved a $2,989,722 school budget, and set the tuition rate for students in grades 7 through 12 at $15,950 for the 2015-16 school year. Also approved were withdrawals from the Capital Reserve Fund of $16,617.58 toward overage for playground equipment.

Funding for various programs and organizations was also approved, including $3,372 to support Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS), $5,156.28 to support Memorial Hall Center for the Arts (MHCA), and $400 to support Windham Child Care Association.


All but one article pass

GRAFTON - The title for fastest Town Meeting of the day went to Grafton, which sped through its agenda in 50 minutes.

All articles passed, except for Article 12, the request of $2,037 by Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies.

As for town officer races, all uncontested candidates won. In the one contested race, Ron Pilette defeated Allan Sands by a vote of 69-67 for the three-year selectman term. Both were write-in candidates. At press time, it is unknown if there will be a recount.

Write-in candidates for school director won - Rod Lawrence for the three-year term and Jack Bryar for the two-year term - and Jack Bryar was the write-in winner for Grafton's representative to the Bellows Falls Union High School Board, a one-year term.

One hundred sixty-six votes were cast. There are 495 registered voters.


Town approves expanded Selectboard

GUILFORD - By voice vote, voters approved expanding the Selectboard from three members to five.

A Special Town Meeting will soon be scheduled to vote on the two new members, who will both serve two year terms.

The General Fund budget for fiscal 2016 of $722,831 was approved. It went up only 1 percent compared to the current budget.

The Highway Fund budget of $870,516 was approved without debate. It represents an increase of $68,604, or 8 percent, over the current year. Road retreatment and bridge repairs account for much of the increase.

The town school budget of $2,963,094 for fiscal 2016 was approved on a unanimous floor vote with little debate. It went up just 1 percent, $44,730, compared to this year.

An article seeking funds to repair the Green River Covered Bridge was passed over, due to uncertainty over funding sources to pay for repairs.

A citizen-proposed natural play space to be created on town land met with approval. Guilford would not be responsible for any cost or maintenance. Liability issues, according to a VLCT lawyer, are already covered. The 1.5-acre parcel parcel, not far from the library and on the banks of Broad Brook, would be gently converted to a natural playground.


EMS gets OK to lease former Town Garage

HALIFAX - Despite questions about the water and sewer systems, voters approved leasing the former Town Garage to Halifax EMS.

The general fund and highway budget of $1,405,700 was also approved.

A school budget of $1,520,755 was approved after voters added an additional $31,000 for paying a kindergarten teacher.

There was only one contested race on the ballot. Incumbent Selectboard member Earl Holtz defeated challenger Bradley Rafus, 103 to 99.

An article to expand the Selectboard to five members from the current three was skipped over.


No changes to Selectboard

JAMAICA - Three open Selectboard seats were filled by incumbents at Town Meeting.

Chair Lexa Clark was elected to the three-year seat, while board members Paul Fraser and Lou Bruso were both elected to one-year seats.

The fiscal 2016 town budget of $1,123,336 was approved. That's an increase of 1.8 percent over the current budget.

The fiscal 2016 school budget of $1,187,170 was also approved. School officials said it was level funded compared to the current budget.

Voters breezed through the agenda in under two hours.


Voters approve buying new pumper truck

LONDONDERRY - Champion Fire Company No. 5 will be getting a $465,000 pumper truck, after voters approved an article to borrow $334,000 and raise $66,000 from tax money pay for the truck. The remainder of the money will come from the fire company.

Voters also approved a town budget of slightly more than $1.5 million for fiscal 2016.

The FY 2016 budget is about $200,000 less than the current town budget of around $1.7 million. About $450,000 of it is for the highway department.

In the only contested race, James Ameden defeated Wayne Blanchard for a Selectboard seat, 71 to 59.


No contested races

MARLBORO - There were no contested races on the town ballot.

Piet Van Loon was returned to the Selectboard for a three-year term, Douglas Korb was elected to a three-year term as School Director, and Evan Wise won a three-year term as Lister.

Doreen O'Connor won a three-year term as Auditor, Clarence Boston won re-election as Constable for a one-year term, and Stillman Vonderhorst won as a write-in for Grand Juror and Town Agent.


Cristelli re-elected as Town Clerk

NEWFANE - Contested races for Town Clerk, Treasurer, and Moderator were decided by voters on Tuesday.

Incumbent Town Clerk Gloria Cristelli defeated challenger Cina Friend, 286 to 152, in a rematch of a close race last year. Cristelli has been Town Clerk for six years.

Incumbent Town Treasurer Maureen Albert-Piascik, who has served for 11 years, defeated challenger Lance Lindgren, 335 to 93. Lindgen served on the town School Board for four years in the 1990s.

And incumbent Moderator Deborah Luskin, who has served since 2010, defeated challenger Kim Freeman, another former member of the town School Board, 229 to 192.


Voters zip through warrant

STRATTON - Voters needed about 90 minutes Tuesday morning to elect town officials and approve a $964,888 General Fund budget, a $1.076,000 Highway Fund and a $611,903 school budget.

Town Clerk Kent Young said 41 of the town's 186 registered voters attended Town Meeting at the Stratton Town Hall.

They re-elected Diana Stugger as Moderator, while Alyson Marcucci was elected Treasurer and Trustee of Pubic Funds and George Rigoulot was elected Planning Commissioner in place of the late Paul Schwippert. George Rigoulot was also elected Constable. Incumbents were returned to all other positions.

Article 8, regarding raising $40,000 for the Fire Truck replacement fund, was voted down, as the town currently is paying off loans for two trucks at a total cost of approximately $150,000. Young said the consensus was to wait until one of the trucks was paid off before adding to the fund.

In the school portion of the meeting, Diana Stugger was re-elected moderator. Tom Montemagni was re-elected School Director, and all articles were passed as warned.


Town cuts Board of Listers from five to three

TOWNSHEND - Voters reduced the size of the Board of Listers from five members to three.

The Listers requested the change, saying they worked more efficiently with fewer members.

Voters also voted to reduce the number of hours of weekly coverage by the Windham County Sheriff's Department from 40 hours to 10 hours by allocating only $20,000 for fiscal 2016.

The General Fund budget of $498.959 and Highway Fund budget of $690,242 were approved as presented.


Westminster West School to stay open

WESTMINSTER - Nearly 400 voters jammed into the Bellows Falls Union High School auditorium on Feb. 28 and spent several hours debating whether to keep the Westminster West School open.

By a 259-96 vote, a $4.93 million school budget, which included funding to keep the two-room, 25-pupil school open for the 2015-16 school year, was approved.

An amendment to reduce the school budget by $183,823 - the estimated cost of keeping the West School open for 2015-16 - was rejected, 221-133.

With much less debate, voters approved a $1.66 million town budget, plus an additional $242,000 for curbside trash pickup.

Voters rejected a measure to change to an Australian ballot for budget voting, tabled a proposal to buy a 53.4-acre land parcel off Goldies Road to use as a gravel pit for the town, and approved a pay raise for School Board members.


Voters approve budgets

WILMINGTON - Voters worked through the scheduled lunch break to complete action on a packed warrant.

A General Fund budget of $1,866,778 for fiscal 2016 was approved, as was a Road Budget of $1,167,098. The Highway Town Road Equipment Capital Fund got an infusion of $200,000 and $150,000 was appropriated for the Fire Equipment Capital Fund.

Voters approved $25,000 for the Memorial Hall Capital Fund, $12,000 for the Library Capital Reserve Fund, and $1,000 for the Playground Capital Reserve Fund.

The Wilmington School District budget of $10,385,262 was also approved.

Selectboard Chair Jim Burke defeated challenger John Gannon, 210-163, for a two-year seat on the Selectboard. Amy Swanson was a write-in winner for Library Trustee, while Kyle Boyd was a write-in winner for CC Haynes Fund Trustee.

A $2.1 million bond vote to refurbish the town's wastewater treatment facility passed, 222-101.


Seawright re-elected

WINDHAM - Incumbent Selectboard member Frank Seawright was re-elected to a three-year term, defeating challenger Asa Goodband, 48-19.

Voters approved a $195,885 General Fund budget and a $373,333 town School Budget for fiscal 2016, and a $26,846.96 appropriation for the Windham Volunteer Fire Company.

A Highway Budget of $428,951 was also approved, as was $65,000 for road re-treatment and bridge maintenance.

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