Editor’s note: The following previews the big Town Meeting votes at Brandon, Pittsford, Proctor, Leicester, Whiting as well as the OVUU and QVUU annual meetings.
By RUSSELL JONES
Brandon Town Meeting
Brandon voters will convene at the Town Hall on Monday, March 4, for the annual town meeting at 7 p.m. Australian ballot voting will take place the following day at the Town Hall between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
On March 5, voters will be asked to approve a proposed budget of $2,702,555, an increase of 0.92 percent in expenditures over last year. Voters will also be asked to authorize $50,000 in paving funds.
Among the significant changes in this year’s budget is the creation of a new assistant to the recreation director position, which will largely be paid for by allowing Bill Moore, who does double duty as recreation director and economic development director for the town, to charge the state for his time as Economic Development Director for the Segment 6 project while his recreation director clerical duties are performed by the new assistant.
Selectboard members Seth Hopkins and Brian Coolidge are running for re-election unopposed. Voters will be asked to decide between Tim Guiles and Dennis Reisenweaver for an open three-year seat.
Also to be voted upon: Bill Moore is running unopposed for Town Moderator; Courtney Satz is running unopposed for Trustee of Public Funds; and Carol Fjeld is running unopposed for re-election as Library Trustee.
Pittsford Town Meeting
Voters in the Town of Pittsford will meet in the Lothrop School gymnasium at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 4, 2019, for the annual Town Meeting. Voting will take place by Australian ballot the next day at the Town Offices from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
At Town Meeting, voters will be asked to approve a general fund budget of $1,634,823, which represents a 5.9 percent increase.
The increase is a result of a rise in the cost of several items, including:
• the BLSG insect control district, which saw a $10,000 increase this year due to legal fees associated with litigation;
• an increase in the Police Department budget of nearly $30,000;
• and the Fire Department saw an increase of around $13,000 for replacing protective equipment and truck maintenance.
Voters also will be asked to approve a 3.2 percent increase in Highway Department funding for a total of $2,556,681 in spending. The actual amount town taxpayers will be responsible for, however, is only $1,541,988, after grants for various projects are received.
The highway spending includes money for a salt shed at the transfer station, a bridge on Fire Hill Road near the entrance to Florence Crushed Stone, and road repairs on Whipple Hollow Road near the entrance to OMYA.
Town voters will be asked to authorize $16,000 for costs of the Village District expenses and $500 for the Vermont Family Network.
By Australian ballot, voters will be asked to elect selectboard members, W. Joseph Gagnon and David Mills, who will both run unopposed for new terms. Gagnon is running for a two-year term. Incumbent David Trombley will not seek re-election, but has endorsed Mills, who is running for a three-year term.
Thomas “Hank” Pelkey is running for a three-year term as Trustee of Public Funds and Donna Wilson is running for Lister on a three-year term. Both are unopposed.
Recently appointed school board member Bonnie B. Chmielewski is also running unopposed to keep her seat as an OVUUSD Director for the Pittsford seat.
Proctor Town Meeting
Proctor voters will meet on Monday, March 4, at the Proctor Jr./Sr. High School at 7 p.m. for the annual Town Meeting. Voting by Australian ballot will begin at 10 a.m. at the same place and will end at 7 p.m.
Voters will be asked to approve a budget of $848,583 in the general fund budget, which is an increase of 1.5 percent.
The town will ask voters to authorize a highway department budget of $499,533 this year, an increase of 9.2 percent over last year. The increase in the highway budget this year was due to an increase in the road improvement line item which was funded to $125,000 this year, which Town Manager Stan Wilbur felt was needed for improvements to town roads.
Voters will be asked to approve a budget of $67,000 in funding for The Proctor Free Library, increased by 3.1 percent compared to last year.
Other votes during the meeting will be to determine if the town will approve $13,148 for various special funding for organizations such as Rutland Mental Health and Pittsford Food Shelf, among others.
The town will ask voters for authority to transfer $161,660 from the general fund cumulative surplus to the Town Hall building fund. This money will be used to repair the front wall and the clerk’s office at the Town Hall.
Voters will also be asked to approve the funding of a Main Street Streetlight Reserve by transferring $20,000 from the general fund cumulative surplus.
At the polling place the following day, voters will be asked to re-elect two candidates for selectboard. Bruce Baccei is running unopposed for a three-year selectboard seat and Benjamin Curtis is running unopposed for a two-year seat. Baccei is the current chair of the selectboard.
Also to be voted on, Andrew Maass is running for Moderator for 1 year, and Gail Curtis is running for Quarry Valley Unified Union School District Director.
Leicester Town Meeting
Voters in the Town of Leicester will convene at the Leicester Meeting House on Monday, March 5 at 7 p.m. for Town Meeting. Voting by Australian ballot will begin the following day at the Leicester Town Office from the hours of 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.
During Town Meeting, voters will decide if they will approve a town budget of $672,282.91. This amount includes $291,582.91 for General Funds and $ 380,700 for Highway Department funds.
Voters will also be asked to approve an additional $50,000 for paving.
The next day, voters will be asked to vote for Richard Reed for town Moderator, while Diane Benware and Tom Barker will seek re-election for the selectboard as a three-year term and two-year term respectively. Others seeking re-election in Leicester include Beth Swinington Ripley as delinquent tax collector, and Mike Rakowitz for the positions of Town Grand Juror and Town Agent.
Whiting Town Meeting
The Town Hall in Whiting will host Town Meeting on Tuesday, March 5 at 7:15 p.m. Among other things, voters will be asked to change the term of road commissioner from one year to three years.
Voters will also be asked to elect town officers. Incumbent officers seeking re-election include:
• road commissioner for 3 years, Paul Quesnel;
• selectboard member for three years, Tara Trudo;
• lister for three years Elizabeth Curran;
• auditor for three years, Alison Remy;
• collector of delinquent taxes for one year, Rani Fallon;
• library trustee for three years, Heather Mattison; library trustee for two years, Jaime Quenneville; library trustee for two years Tara Trudo;
• First Constable for one year, Michael Dame;
• Town Agent for one year, Heather Bouchard.
Finally, the voters will be asked to approve appropriations of $369,677.50, of which $277,522.65 will come from taxes, for town expenses.
OVUU Annual Meeting
Voters from the Otter Valley Unified Union School district will meet at the Otter Valley Union High School on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Voting by Australian ballot will take place on Tuesday, March 5 at the usual polling places throughout the district. Ballots will be brought to the Brandon Town Hall after polls close and commingled and counted by the Board of Civil Authority.
Voters in the district will be asked to approve a budget of $19,935,847, which represents a 3.7 percent increase in total spending over last year. That is an increase of 2.08 percent per equalized pupil over the previous year.
The board will also ask voters to approve a safety, security and operations improvement bond not to exceed $2,934,000. The bond is for improvements at Lothrop Elementary, Neshobe Elementary, and Otter Valley Union High School. (See accompanying story in this issue.)
School board members up for re-election are Jon Rasmussen and Barbara Ebling, who are running unopposed. Derek Larsen and Mike Lufkin are both running for an open seat. (The Reporter will profile both candidates in next week’s issue.)
QVUU Annual Meeting
Voters from the towns of Poultney, Proctor and West Rutland will meet on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. for the Quarry Valley Unified Union school district annual meeting at Proctor High School. Voting will be by Australian ballot on Tuesday, March 5 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the respective towns’ polling places.
The school district voters will be asked to approve a budget that increases by 6.28 percent. The proposed budget of $17,617,200 increases last year’s budget by $1,041,719.
Voters will also be asked to approve a capital improvements and facility repair and maintenance reserve fund that the district can use for any necessary repairs to schools.
In addition, Gail Curtis will be running unopposed for the vacant school board seat.