Budgets, open seats top topics at Town Meetings
by Mike Eldred
Feb 07, 2013 | 1773 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEERFIELD VALLEY- Town Meeting Day is less than a month away, and many local residents will soon be poring over their town reports and budgets. Throughout the valley, few new candidates have stepped forward to challenge incumbents and, in some cases, even the incumbents aren’t in the running.

Readsboro

Readsboro’s three-member select­board may soon be a two-member board. Nobody submitted a petition for the board’s only vacancy, and the incumbent, Ray Eilers, says he’s not interested in another three-year term. If nobody steps forward as a write-in candidate, the two remaining members, Dave Marchegiani and Teddy Hopkins, can appoint a new member. Until a candidate is appointed, however, all of the board’s duties will fall to the two remaining members. And, because the two members will make up the quorum needed to conduct any business, any absence or conflict requiring recusal could bring town business to a halt.

There were also no petitions submitted for three other offices: town agent, town moderator, and school moderator.

In other elected positions, Dana Rapp is running for a three-year term as school director, Eunice Crowell and Bob Scott are running for a one-year term as lister, and Annalisa Carew and Ann Floriani are running for a three-year term as lister. Molly Frost is running for a five-year term as library trustee, Teddy Hopkins is running for grand juror, Dave Switz is running for another one-year term as delinquent tax collector, and Priscilla Margolla is running for another five-year term as cemetery commissioner.

This year’s Town Meeting warning includes several petitioned articles. Article 10 asks voters to raise $10,000 to put into the personal protective equipment fund. Article 14 asks voters to raise and appropriate $6,500 “or any other sum” to pay for a fireworks display at the town’s annual Independence Day celebration. Article 15 asks voters to raise $2,000 for Wings Community Programs. Wings provides after-school and summer programs for children in Readsboro. Article 16 asks Readsboro voters to raise and appropriate $2,500 for Turning Point Recovery Center of Bennington County.

Two articles, if passed, would create new reserve funds. Article 11, another petitioned article, asks voters to create a reserve fund for fire truck replacement, and Article 12 asks voters to raise and appropriate $50,000 to put into the fund. Article 8 asks voters to create a cemetery reserve fund, and Article 9 asks them to raise and appropriate $7,000 for the new fund. Other “fund articles” include $15,000 for the town building fund, $50,000 for the bridge fund, and $189,000 for the “town machinery” sinking fund.

This year’s general fund question asks voters to raise and appropriate $786,697.

Searsburg

Change is not in the air in Searsburg; none of the offices open for election this year attracted new challengers. But the good news for Searsburg may be that all of the incumbents have turned in petitions to run for re-election. Josie Kilbride is running for three-year terms as town clerk and treasurer, Gerry DeGray is running for a three-year term on the selectboard, and Dan Hollister Sr. is running for a one-year term as constable. Derick Lind is running for another one-year term as delinquent tax collector, and Sherrie Lind is running for a three-year term as auditor. Tina Reynolds is running for another three-year term as lister.

Big-ticket articles on this year’s warning include Article 16, the highway department budget of $141,950, of which $132,450 would be raised in taxes, with the remaining $9,500 to come from anticipated revenues. Article 17 asks voters to approve a general fund budget of $108,450, with $80,175 to be raised in taxes, and $28,275 from anticipated revenues.

Wardsboro

While most towns elect their officials by Australian ballot, candidates for town offices in Wardsboro are nominated from the floor at Town Meeting and elected by voice vote. Because no petition or ballot is required, there’s also no list of candidates to mull over before heading to the polls.

Under Article 5 of Wardsboro’s Town Meeting warning, voters are asked to support 17 community organizations, from the Wardsboro Volunteer Fire Department to the Windham County Historical Society. Highlights include the fire department’s $50,000 request and $26,000 for the Wardsboro Public Library. The total of the 17 requests is $91,309.
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