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Town Meeting Day preview: Highlights from area ballots

March 5 voters from communities across the state will gather to discuss the business of their towns and cast their ballots. Town Meeting Day falls on the first Tuesday in March each year and has been an important political event for over 200 years as Vermonters elect local officers and vote on budgets. Below are some brief highlights from area ballots.

In Rutland City, David Allaire is challenging incumbent mayor Christopher Louras for a two-year term. Voters will also be picking six aldermen from a field of 12: Diane L. Alberts, Paul Black, John P. Cassarino, Thomas Depoy, Sherri Durgin-Campbell, Melinda Humphrey, Jon Kiernan, Edward Larson, John E. Mattison, Jr., Charles A. Romeo, David Wallstrom, and Daniel White. Voters will also be asked to approve a $47.2 million school budget and and $18.6 million city budget. There is also a nonbinding article asking if voters would accept the use of chloramine as a disinfectant in the water supply.

There is an open seat for the three-year selectman's seat in Rutland Town. Donald J. Chioffi and Chirs Kiefer Cioffi are contending for it.

In West Rutland, the contested races are for the school board. Francesca Girardi, Tony Morgan and Michael Moser are vying for a three-year term, while Moser and Pater Baird, Tom Callahan, Blake Cushing, and Maureen Warner-Blackman are racing for a one-year term. Voters will aso consider a school budget of almost $5.5 million, and an article on whether to float a $400,000 bond to renovate the town hall bathrooms.

There are no contested races in Mendon, though Gail Buck is stepping down as treasurer in favor of Caroline Schneider and incumbent Selectman Greg Smith is asking for a three-year term.

In Killington, Selectman Jim Haff will face Patty McGrath and E.J. Willis for a three-year term. The other contested race is for a two-year term as first constable. Mark J. Fiore and Whit Montgomery are running for the position. Voters will also be asked to approve a town budget of nearly $5.1 million, and whther to authorize the board of selectmen to appoint a first constable and, if needed, a second constable.

There are no contested races in Woodstock. Voters will be asked to approve $23,000 for the Vail Field playground, $60,000 to purchase a digital projection system for the Pentangle Arts movie theatre, and an article banning assault weapons and other gun control measures.

In Castleton, voters will be asked to choose among Patrick H. Eagan, Patricia Graziano, and John M. Hale to fill a three-year selectman's seat. There are four people contending for two one-year terms: Thomas Kearns, Jim Leamy, Edward O'Shea, and Wenger Rehlen. A number of Castleton positions have no candidates, including filling two years of an unexpired three-year term for the school board, nobody for the two one-year seats, and only two candidates - Julie W. Finnegan and Thomas Kearns - for the three three-year terms. Other offices going begging are town grand juror, and town agent.

Ludlow finds itself in a similar situation. There is one contested race, and no one has filed for moderator, town agent, school district moderator, school district clerk, school district treasurer, and two seats on the school board. The only contested race is for a pair of three-year seats on the Union No. 39 District school board. Voters will be asked to choose among Susan Barton, Daniel L Buckley, and Bruce Schmidt.