On February 24, 2016

Area towns prepare for Town Meeting Day, Tuesday, March 1

By Stephen Seitz

Voters across Vermont will trek to the polls on March 1 to set their town budgets, choose their local leaders, and settle various policy questions. Rutland and Windsor County voters will be considering the following:

In Killington, voters will be asked to approve a $4.1 million budget. They’ll also be asked to approve borrowing $200,000 for a new library roof.

The City of Rutland is asking $19.3 million for fiscal year 2017, and $50.4 million for the schools during the same period. Voters will also be asked for a $2.5 million bond issue to upgrade White’s Pool, to be repaid over 20 years; $1.3 million to install a water equalization tank near Campbell Road (to be repaid over 30 years), and $1.7 million to replace water mains on Park, Crescent and East streets, Jackson and Engrem avenues, and Spellman Terrace. These would be repaid over 20 years.

Brandon voters have two articles to consider: whether to issue $835,200 in general obligation bonds for highway and infrastructure repairs, and whether to issue $680,000 for the Champlain Street wastewater pump station.

Bridgewater is one of those towns following the classic town meeting format, where all questions and elections are decided from the floor. Voters will be asked to approve a budget of $778,367.98, as well as whether the town treasurer should also be the tax collector. Voters will also be asked to approve a $180,000 loan for a new truck for the highway department.

Castleton voters have a lengthy agenda this year: 55 articles, most of which involve appropriations. Castleton has traditionally asked voter approval of every line item in the budget, but this year, Article 9 asks voters if they would prefer to stop doing this and adopt a five-article budget instead.

Chittenden will be asking its voters to consider a budget of almost $416,000, as well as $512,300 for highway expenses. Voters will also be asked to approve $50,000 for the volunteer fire department.

In Ludlow, voters will be asked to approve a 1 percent local options tax for sales, meals, rooms, and alcohol. The money will be split between the general fund in order to reduce local property taxes, while the rest goes into an infrastructure reserve fund. The informational meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 29, at 7 p.m. in the town hall; voters will be asked to consider a $3.6 million budget. Ludlow Village voters will be asked to approve a budget of $284,653.

Plymouth voters will have two choices: whether to approve a $1.2 million budget, and whether to appropriate about $10,000 for various human service agencies.

In Pomfret, the proposed town budget is $1,358,491. Voters will also be asked to approve a proposal to collect town taxes twice a year, in August and February, and whether to “develop a combined capital plan for projected expenditures from FY17 through FY24 that includes expenditures for highway, emergency services and town infrastructure & buildings,” among other responsibilities.”

Voters in Proctor will be asked for $822,689 to cover town expenses, and $422,036 for highway expenses. Also on the agenda are three non-binding discussions: adding fluoride to the water supply, eliminating the office of lister, and a highway garage maintenance and improvement fund.

In Reading, voters will consider a proposed budget of $607,142.50, and an elementary school budget of a little more than $1 million.

Stockbridge voters will consider a proposed town budget of $791.942, and whether to collect real estate taxes in August and November.

Rutland Town voters will be asked to approve a town budget of $954,867; $990,895 for the highway fund; $194,274 for the fire fund, and $149,799 for the recreation fund.

Woodstock voters will be asked to decide whether to float a $100,000 bond to build a permanent home for the Chamber of Commerce. The town would own the building, while rent from the chamber would pay back the bond. Voters will also be asked to appropriate $948,000 to cover sewer department expenses; $686,000 of that would come from user fees. The proposed town budget for the next fiscal year is $4.8 million.

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