On Wednesday Dec. 11, Marge Freed, a member of the board, submitted a resignation from her post, which will become effective Dec. 31. Freed is moving her primary residence to Florida, she said. Chris Brooks, chairman of the select board and the other members joked that they would not accept the resignation.
"Sadly Margery is resigning her position on the select board...Margery, you will sorely be missed," Chris Brooks, chair of the select board said. "Thank you for your service."
Freed said she and her husband will be in Vermont through the holidays and then head south to Florida. She said that the impact of taxes in the state was a major factor in their decision.
"I leave with mixed emotions," she said in an interview. "I am appreciative to the Dorset voters and feel that we have made some very good board decisions over our time. If I have to leave, I feel like I am leaving the town in good hands."
Freed served eight consecutive terms on the select board, starting in 2006. Her term was set to expire in 2014. The town has posted a public notice about the opening. Residents can find the application for the open seat online at dorsetvt.org/selectboard.php. Applications can be mailed to the town manager's office or hand delivered. The term of the seat will still end in March 2014.
Interviews for the open seat will take place at a select board meeting in early January, but it will depend on the number of applicants, Rob Gaiotti, town manager said at the meeting.
The fiscal year 2015 budget was discussed in detail at this meeting. The board approved line items in the budget regarding a movable speeding sign, money to help the Discover Dorset event among others. However, items such as spending on election costs for ballots and other related election materials as well as a building study for town hall were not approved.
In an email, Gaiotti said the select board has historically tried to keep their spending low. This year, it was a very conscious decision to lower spending from last year, because the education state tax rate was likely to go up.
The total budget is expected to decrease around 6 percent or $103,457 from year to year. The municipal tax rate was $0.1908 per $100 of assessed property value last year and will be $0.1828 per $100 of property value this year. There could be a change to the tax rate, because it is currently based on last year's grand list. Any changes to the grand list will result in a change to tax figures, Gaiotti said.
There are some major projects that were finished in the previous year that are contributing to the lower budget. There was a large paving project on Morse Hill Road and some small one-time projects around town hall, like new fencing and adding a break room and small kitchen area, Gaiotti said.
A major item discussed in response to multiple line item allocations was money should be spent only on what it was approved for.
"I just want to make sure, if we are allocating money [in this category], that it stays there," Chris Brooks, select board chairman said.
In other news, to help support the Dorset forest expansion, Gaiotti asked the select board to pass a resolution supporting the project. The resolution, he said would help show town support in receiving the grant they are applying for. The grant application is due around Jan. 15. The resolution passed unanimously.