The Mountain Times

°F Sat, April 19, 2014

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Lakes Region election round-up

Voters in Benson, Castleton, Fair Haven, Orwell, and West Haven approved the $5,222,660 Fair Haven Union High School budget by a wide margin, 1,149-755.

After celebrating Lillian Smith's 94th birthday and Guy Charlton's serving the town for more than 30 years, Benson voters approved the $331,332 town budget and the $452,620 highway budget by voice vote. They also approved 11 appropriations for several organizations that were similarly approved for the same amounts last year, for a total of $32,090. And they approved the transfer of more than $11,000 in revenue-sharing funds to the newly created history project fund. The initial $5,000 fund had been set-aside in 1977 to compile and publish a town history; the fund had accumulated interest over 35 years.
Benson voters cast votes for town officials and the school budget, re-electing Samuel Bartholomew as selectman, and newly electing Robert Lussier. They also approved the school budget of $1,782,385.

In Castleton, voters turned down a $1.05 million bond to build a 4,500-square-foot, single-story town office building on Route 30, by a vote of 652 against and 363 for. The town has been struggling over whether to renovate the old town office at 556 Main St., build a new building, or find a third solution for the previous two years.

The town also elected a new select board. Newcomer John Hale received a three-year seat; incumbent Edward O'Shea and newcomer Wenger Rehlen each received a one-year seat. Voters approved all the money matters on the ballot, including the town and school budgets.

West Haven voters elected newcomer Christopher Hoyt to a three-year seat on the select board and approved all monetary articles on the ballot. 
Fair Haven elected former selectman Robert Richards to a one-year seat on the select board and re-elect fire chief David ward for a second one-year term. All other candidates ran uncontested. Voters approved the $1,937,814 town budget and the $5,126,660 school budget. They also approved all proposed appropriations and a continued tax exemption for Eureka Lodge #75 Free and Accepted Masons.

Hubbardton voters elected a new town clerk and treasurer; Dawn Custer will fill that position. They also approved the $939,195 town budget, doubling the 250th birthday celebration (now $500), and buying or leasing a Case tractor loader/backhoe.
Middletown Springs voters rejected their school budget, by only four votes. Both the general fund and the highway budget passed. But the $25,000 in firehouse improvements failed, as did a $200 designation for The Mentor Connection. Michael Lamson won the three-year seat on the town select board.

In Pawlet, voters approved all requests except a $28,794 item for painting the Pawlet Public Library exterior. General, highway, and school budgets all passed by wide margins.

Tinmouth voters returned to a traditional town meeting for discussions about proposed budgets and special articles - and approved all that were before them, including switchiing from Rutland Southwest Supervisory Union to Rutland South Supervisory Union. They retained the Australian ballot voted into use in 2006 for elective offices.

Wells voters approved both school and town budgets, as well as appropriations for the Wells Volunteer Fire Department, Granville Rescue Squad, Lake St. Catherine Association, the Lake St. Catherine Conservation Fund and the Wells Library. Enoch Pratt won a three-year seat on the select board; a write-in campaign sends Sharon Undal to a three-year school board seat.