On March 6, 2024

Hartland Town Meeting goes smoothly

By Curt Peterson

The approximately 200 attendees at the Hartland Town Meeting Tuesday, March 5, approved all nine pertinent Articles on the warning.

Select Board chair Phil Hobbie told the Mountain Times, “I think things went surprisingly well. John Broker-Campbell, who’s been our town manager for just five weeks did a wonderful job.”

Many said it was refreshing to hear Broker-Campbell admit when he did not know the answer to a question from the floor, and he sought the needed information among town officials.

State representatives Elizabeth Burrows and John Bartholomew, and state Senator Alison Clarkson provided brief updates on the Legislature’s activities.

Conservation Committee chair Rob Anderegg awarded the 2023 volunteer of the year award to Sarah Bruce, listing her many activities.

Article 2: Voters unanimously approved $92,000 for the Hartland Volunteer Fire Department, including a new $12,000 stipend for veteran chief John Sanders.

Articles 3 and 4: Moving small amounts from long-inactive funds to budget items that could use them were unanimously approved.

Article 5: Ottauquechee Health Foundation requested, and received, an increase to $5,000 in appropriation funds. The vote was unanimous.

Article 6: Hartland Community Arts was cheerfully appropriated $2,000 with which they will upgrade lighting in Damon Hall.

Article 7: Voters approved $84,482 total appropriations to 24 non-profit service organizations, unanimously.

Article 8: The town general and highway funds of $3,679,380 ($2,867,414 raised by taxes) won unanimous approval.

Article 9: The proposal to use up to $150,000 to provide lighting for the new 3-Corners intersection attracted considerable comment and questioning. Broker-Campbell said the current lights would gone with the poles that hold them, as the wires are going underground. A handful of “Nays” were outvoted by a majority of “Ayes.”

Article 10: The Upper Valley Land Trust is negotiating with Timotheus Pohl for purchase 75 acres of open land between Route 12 and Ottauquechee Road to establish a permanent conservation easement. The land would be available for public use for year-round recreation, and some of the land will continue as agriculture use. Seven-plus acres will be set aside for future construction of affordable housing. Voters were asked to approve “setting aside” up to $100,000 as the town’s contribution to the purchase, should it happen.

Local land surveyor Tim Rockwood gave a presentation of reasons to question the transaction, and there was active debate.

The great majority of voters present gave approval, and a smaller number said, “Nay”. This Article has been a topic of conversations in town for some months.

The meeting was adjourned at noon. Ballot voting was open until 7 p.m. There are no contested local positions. Nikki Haley overwhelmingly beat out Donald Trump on the Republican primary ballot, 238-198.

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