Arlington voters approve proposed spending

ARLINGTON - The voters of Arlington approved their proposed town budget of $1,258,815 on Tuesday.

Members of the town approved the $1,017,664 to be raised by taxes from the floor at Monday night's informational meeting, but there were a series of appropriations voted on by Australian ballot on Tuesday - all of which passed - that increased the figure.

Select Board Chairman Keith Squires said the budget was up 1.7 percent, which was "relatively in line" with what the town's expenses have been in previous years.

However the town has not set a municipal tax rate as they are waiting to see what the education rates will be. Arlington will set their municipal tax rate later this year.

Incumbents Cynthia Browning and Select Board Chair Keith Squires - who were both running unopposed - were reelected. Browning was reelected for a 2-year term earning 349 votes and Squires for a 3-year term with 316 votes.

Articles 10 and 11 - which asked voters whether or not $40,000 each should be put aside for the replacement or repairs to the town's fire trucks and highway trucks - both passed.

The Arlington Rescue Squad's request for $32,500 - which is to go toward new equipment and training among other items - was approved by a vote of 357-37.

Squires also raised the issue of the town possibly having to hire a Town Administrator - something that has been discussed in Arlington for the past several years.

"In order to keep up, I think the best way to put it is we're going to have to go to that post and it's not a long ways away," said Squires. "It is going to be expensive, but I think that's something that we're going to have to look into."

The town also voted to approve the school district's budget of $6,591,225 by a vote of 284-114.

The budget was a $656,405 increase over last year's budget of $5,934,820. Most of the increase this year was attributed to teachers salaries according to Jennings.

In the race for school director, Kevin Smith defeated Glen Gross 209-128 for the two-year-term. K. John Smith - who was running unopposed - was reelected for a three-year-term gaining 298 votes and Nichol Whalen was elected for the three-year-seat, which has two-years remaining, with 353 votes.

It was also confirmed at the meeting that board member Maureen Harvey had resigned from the board, but board chair Diane Jennings said Harvey gave no reason for her departure.

At least one resident, Don Keelan, felt that Harvey's resignation was a big loss to the board as he said she had a financial background that was of great benefit.

An article to place $190,000 into the general fund was approved by a vote of 323 to 72.

At the floor meeting on Monday there was some questions centered around an article to put $100,000 into the school's technology fund - an article that was passed Tuesday 320-76.

"It's important for the taxpayers to see this kind of thing as a sinking fund every year because technology is not going away and we need to start getting our kids ready to go on to school or in order to take a job they certainly have to work with technology," said Superintendent of the Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union Karl Gallese.

Voters also approved an article to change two school board seats from two-year terms to one year by a vote of 247 to 138. The idea, which raised some questions at Monday's floor meeting about continuity on the board, was conceived by board member Gerald Wood ard who said he was aware of several people that were interested in joining the board, but were unsure if the time commitment would be too much for them.

"Through the years I worked with a lot of people who don't want to quit if they can't handle it," Woodard said.

The new term limits will not go into effect until 2015.

There are also several improvements that need to be made at Fisher Elementary School and Arlington Memorial High School. Fisher needs a new roof as well as doors and AMHS needs windows - an item that is expected to cost about $150,000 alone. Together, the improvements this year are expected to cost close to $250,000.


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