By Curt Peterson
The proposed budget in Woodstock is $59 million, 2.3 percent less than the current year’s budget. The amount to be raised by taxes ($4,075,518) is 3.96 percent over FY2020.
Voters are being asked for a $4.5 million bond for an emergency services building reconstruction. The town will seek grants and other revenue to reduce the cost of this project. Another $593,000 is requested to fund expanded 24-hour municipal ambulance service. Voters are asked to approve using loans and/or bonds to finance up to $2.8 million for the South Woodstock wastewater treatment facility. Any grants from the state and/or federal government would reduce the cost to the town.
Article 9 asks voters for $25,000 for “general improvements to Vail Field,” a ball park on South Street. Paving town and village roads is included in Article 10 for $150,000.
Most expenditures are increased by small percentages. Standouts include “general government,” up $32,990 (4.5 percent), town highways, up $135,180 (7.5 percent), ambulance department, up $36,450 (6 percent), fire department up $28,450 (9.5 percent), and Select Board contingency, up $17,000 (7 percent).
There are notable decreases, such as planning and zoning down $6,070 (5 percent), and Capital Reserve Spending down $138,000 (46.8 percent). Economic Development is level-funded at $270,000.
A health officer expense of $7,440 and community fireworks expense of $10,000 are new in the FY2021 budget.
Voters are asked to approve $1,070,275 for “current expenses and debt of the sewer department for FY2020-2021,” $1,002,275 funded by user fees, and $68,000 from “other revenue.”
There are 18 open elected positions, including two Selectpersons (2 and 3 yr. terms), Town Clerk (3 yrs.), Town Treasurer (1 yr.), Moderator (1 yr.), Lister (3 yrs.), Three Auditors (1, 2, and 3 yrs.), Two Cemetery Commissioners (2 and 3 yrs.), Two Trustees of Public Funds (2 and 3 yrs.), Grand Juror (1 yr.), First Constable (1 yr.), Town Agent (1 yr.) and two Windsor Central Unified School District Board members (3 yrs. each).
According to Town Clerk Charlie Degener, Ray Bourgeois’s Select Board seat is contested by Keri Cole. Select Board member Mary Riley’s bid for re-election is uncontested.
One of the Windsor Central consolidated district school board seats was vacated last week when Paige Hiller resigned for health reasons after serving Woodstock area schools for more than a decade. The Select Board will appoint a replacement to fulfill her term (2021).
The town manager’s office advised the Mountain Times that an estimated combined tax rate won’t be calculated until the budget and the fate of all the warnings are decided by the Town Meeting voting.
The current tax rate is $2.1637. According to the warnings tax payments will be due Nov. 6, 2020 and May 7, 2021. Interest and penalties for unpaid taxes accrue on from the due date.
The annual meeting will be held at the Town Hall at 10 a.m. on Feb. 29. Voters can attend an informational hearing at 9:30 a.m. the same day regarding proposed spending on the South Woodstock sewage treatment plant and renovations to the Emergency Services Building. Voting is by Australian Ballot on Tuesday, March 3, also at the Town Hall, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.