News Briefs

Lakes Region News Briefs

Wells Select Board chair ousted
WELLS—Select Board Chair Timothy Makepeace lost reelection to the three-year board seat to Ronald Bremer, 212-88. Michelle Bates edged out Lisa Mattison for a five-year term as library trustee, 151-143. Wells voters approved all budgets and appropriations; there were no other contested races.

Middletown Springs rejects ATV regs
MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS— Middletown Springs passed 30 of 32 ballot articles in its 2017 Town Meeting. Rejected were an ordinance to regulate ATV vehicles, 225-115, and a $250 appropriation for Big Heavy World, a Vermont organization to preserve Vermont musical history and encourage music, cultural and economic opportunity, with a vote of 188-146.
The proposed merger between Middletown Springs and Wells school districts passed, 242-53. The $283,405 town budget also passed.
A vote of 187-143 awarded the three-year Select Board position to Herb Childress over Carl P. Haynes. Patricia McWilliams bested Diane Rosenmiller for the library trustee post, 268-243. There was no opposition for most elected candidates.

Poultney passes budgets, elects selectmen
POULTNEY—Town Meeting Day saw Poultney voters pass its $1.19 million town budget, 385-88, and its $6.74-million school budget, 267-203. They also approved a proposal to use federal bonds to help replace a fire truck, 339-76. The top two of a field of five Select Board candidates were George D. Miller and Terry K. Williams, with 286 and 214 votes respectively. Betsy Westcott received voter approval for both town clerk and town treasurer.

Castleton voters reject school budgets
CASTLETON—In Castleton, Town Meeting voters rejected both the $6,214,407 Castleton-Hubbardton Union School district, 462-351, and the $7,831,980 Fair Haven Union High School budget, 927-763. But the voters were not totally dissatisfied with the ballot’s education-related articles, approving the $20,000 capital improvements fund for Fair Haven Union High School, 1099-581, and Article 1, for merging into the Slate Valley school district, 360-290.
Courageous voters tackled a 50-article ballot, approving all appropriations. They elected Pamela J. Arel library trustee over Ted Molnar, 321-283, and selected Jim Leamy and Zack Holtzworth for one-year select board seats.

Fair Haven rejects Act 46 merger
FAIR HAVEN—While Fair Haven voters said yes at Town Meeting to all articles of the town warning and approved the $1,998,960 Select Board budget, 226-188, they rejected the $5,279,214 town school budget, 241-138, and also rejected the Act 46 school district merger, 220-208. In the one-year selectman contest, Neil Robinson bested Bonnie Rosati, 253-204. Running unopposed for a three-year selectman’s seat, Richard Frazier received 298 votes. Cecelia Hunt came in ahead of Thomas D. Bruso in the race for a one-year library trustee position.

Pawlet voters approve budgets
PAWLET—In Pawlet’s March 7 balloting, the $399,455 town budget passed, 283-56; the $452,043 highway budget, 267-71; and the $25,000 equipment fund, 262-77.
The $500 support for NeighborWorks of Western Vermont passed, 197-127.
Only one race was contested, that for a three-year Pawlet School director seat; Norma Weeden overcame William Morrissey, 186-142.
There were no candidates in Pawlet for a one-year grand juror or a one-year town agent seat.
Robert T. Jones will fill the three-year Select Board position; Edgar “Ed” Cleveland and John W. Malcolm, the two one-year slots.

Benson floor meeting offers living civics lesson
BENSON— All 10 of the students in Benson Village School’s eighth grade class observed the March 7 Town Meeting, distributing free coffee and doughnuts as a thank you to Benson residents for contributing to funds for a Washington, D.C., class trip. The floor meeting was the second one to which social studies teacher Archie Clark has brought students to observe local government in operation.
Although 50 to 60 people were present when the meeting began, a significant number of them left when the meeting transitioned from municipal to school discussions. The relative scarcity of controversial issues on this year’s ballot may have led to the light voter turnout, Town Clerk Daphne Bartholomew speculated.
Benson Youth League, Fair Haven Concerned Inc., and BROC were among the funds-requesting agencies that presented information about their services. There were no requests to explain the amount of funding asked nor attempts to raise or lower the submitted amounts.
Without discussion, voters approved a $378,135 municipal fund budget, $8,500 more than the current year. They also approved the $523,230 highway fund budget, $47,700 more than the current budget. Both were voice votes.
The town tax rate is expected to decrease by nearly 2.6 percent because the town requested $40,000 for a fire truck last year.
Benson voters approved both a $1,541,435 school budget and a $30,000 building reserve with votes of 112-74 and 777-76, respectively. They supported the Act 46 school consolidation, 122-54.
Doug Jesseman received a three-year Select Board term, defeating Daniel Britton, 92-69. Sam Bartholomew and Tory Tyminski will serve one-year Select Board terms, receiving 157 and 99 votes, compared to Joseph Trenn’s 56 votes.
Voters also elected Amy Richard Hutts as school director to the Fair Haven Unified High School district and Amy Munger to a three-year term as Benson Town School director.

Hubbardton scraps excavator
HUBBARDTON—Voters approved all the articles on their town ballot with the exception of #16, an approval for the town to buy an excavator. They agreed to the proposed Act 46 school district merger, 98-27. Dwayne Gibbs bested John Demgard Sr. in the town’s only contested election, that for a three-year Select Board seat, 110-25. Voters preferred Tara Buxton for school director in the new merged district, with 43 votes.

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