Petitions are in, articles set, area towns getting ready for annual meetings
by Mike Eldred
Jan 31, 2013 | 4220 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fred Skwirut makes a point to a packed house at Wilmington’s 2012 Town Meeting. File photo
Fred Skwirut makes a point to a packed house at Wilmington’s 2012 Town Meeting. File photo
DEERFIELD VALLEY- Candidates’ petitions for town office are in, and most towns and school districts have approved their Town Meeting warnings.

There are few contested races in Deerfield Valley towns, but dedicated local pols will still find plenty of issues in their town and school warnings to weigh in on.


Dover voters will have only one contested race to decide this year. Joseph Mahon is challenging William “Buzzy” Buswell for a three-year seat on the selectboard. Incumbent Victoria Capitani is running for another two-year term.

On the school side, Jonathan “Chip” Vicary is running for a two-year term on the school board, and Laura Sibilia is running for the three-year seat.

Larry Feldstein is running for town and school moderator, both positions long held by Dick Kaufman, who died last fall. Feldstein is also running to serve as town grand juror.

Most of Dover’s candidates are incumbents, including Andy McLean for town clerk, Patty Westlake for treasurer and trustee of public funds, Nona Monis for town agent, Linda Sherman for lister, and Hillary Twining for library trustee. Mary Lou Raymo is running for first constable, and Randy Johnson is running for second constable.

On the school district meeting warning, Article 3 asks voters to pay up to $14,875 in tuition for Dover students attending Burr and Burton Academy. Article 4 asks voters whether they’ll also pay up to the same amount for students attending other “approved independent schools.”

Article 8, a two-part article, asks voters to approve school expenditures of $2,809,618 from two different sources.

On the municipal Town Meeting warning, Article 13 asks voters to approve general fund expenditures of $1,983,115.07, and Article 14 ask voters to approve highway department expenditures of $1,201,248.

In several funding articles, voters are asked to raise $400,000 for the paving fund, $200,000 for the equipment fund, $100,000 for the building improvement fund, and $65,000 for the Dover Legal Defense Fund.

In Article 19, voters are asked to raise and appropriate $3,300 for the Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) group. This year, SeVEDS, an economic development group associated with Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) is asking Windham County towns to help fund their efforts. The request varies from town to town, based on population figures.


Voters in Wilmington will have two contested races for selectboard. Rebecca Morris and Jacob White will square off for a three-year position on the board. Both are new to the board, vying for a position vacated by selectboard chair Tom Consolino. Consolino is running for one of two positions on the budget committee, challenging incumbents John Gannon and Fred Houston. Miller Longbotham is challenging incumbent selectboard member Jim Burke for a two-year seat on the board.

In the other municipal races, incumbents are unchallenged. Town clerk Susan Haughwout is seeking another three-year term, and Frank Spencer is seeking another term as town and school moderator.

On the school side, incumbent school board member Dennis Richter is unchallenged in his bid for another three-year term. Timothy Cunningham is also running unopposed for a two-year seat vacated by Paul Wheeler.

On the municipal warning, Article 4 asks voters to raise and appropriate $1,774,199 for the general fund and, in Article 5, to raise $1,267,616 for the highway department budget.

Article 6 asks voters to place $100,000 in the fire department equipment fund.

The subject of much discussion at recent selectboard meetings, Article 10 asks voters to create an economic and community development reserve fund “whose purpose is to fund economic and community development within the town of Wilmington.” If the article is approved, Article 11 would give voters the opportunity to use the proceeds of the town’s 1% local option tax to fund the account.

Highlights on the school warning include Article 2, which would move the annual Australian ballot vote on the Twin Valley School budget from its current date in January to Town Meeting day in March.

Article 3 asks voters to ratify the Twin Valley budget voted in January. The budget was approved by a majority of voters in both towns, but was later deemed invalid because the Twin Valley annual report hadn’t reached voters at least 10 days before the vote, as required by statute.


Whitingham voters will see two articles on their school warning identical to those on Wilmington’s warning. Article 2 asks voters to change the Australian ballot budget vote to Town Meeting day, and Article 3 asks voters to ratify the budget passed in January.

On the municipal side, Article 2 asks voters to approve $701,319 in general fund expenditures, $492,261 of which will be raised in taxes, $161,022 from anticipated revenues, and $48,036 from a previous fund balance. Article 6 seeks voter approval of $971,074 for the highway department budget, including $747,025 in taxes, $114,800 in anticipated revenues, and $109,249 from the previous year’s fund balance. Another highway-related question, Article 8, asks voters to authorize the town to borrow $1 million at an interest rate “not to exceed” 2.3% over five years to pave town roads. Article 7 asks voters to raise and appropriate $75,000 for the highway department fund.

Other budget highlights include Article 4, to raise and appropriate $65,175 for fire department operations, and Article 5, to raise $20,000 for the fire department equipment fund. Article 9 asks voters to approve $66,252 in expenditures for the Whitingham Free Public Library, $54,480 to be raised in taxes and $11,772 from donations.

Article 11 asks voters to raise and appropriate $14,050 to support Whitingham Ambulance Service Inc. WASI is currently operating under a conditional license from the state while it addresses concerns regarding staffing and response time. One proposal has been to increase towns’ contributions to WASI to fund more full-time staff.

Whitingham voters won’t see any contested races on their ballot, but they’ll see plenty of familiar names. In municipal races, Almira Aekus is seeking three positions: Town clerk, treasurer, and tax collector. Allan Twitchell and Blanche Mills are seeking to maintain their positions on the selectboard. Leon Corse will continue as town and school moderator, and Susan Cooke Johnson is running for town agent and grand juror again. Kimberly Hicks and Maryanne Johnson are running for library trustee positions, Linda Brown is running for cemetery commissioner, and Jenepher Burnell is seeking another term as lister.

On the school side, Nichole Crafts is running for another two-year term on the school board, but a three-year seat will go unclaimed unless a write-in candidate steps up.

Next week: Readsboro, Searsburg, Wardsboro, and Halifax.

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