Danby voters have choices

DANBY - Like all towns around Vermont, Danby recently released their town report. There is $425,548.00 expected for revenue in fiscal year 2015. Twenty-one organizations have asked Danby for appropriations in their budget, coming to a total of $73,898. The largest of the requests come in at $27,600 for the Danby - Mt. Tabor fire department.

Along with the budgets come the warned articles. On March 4, the town will vote by Australian ballot for a few changes. Article 8 states "shall the town vote to pay the Town Clerk an annual salary in lieu of any statutory fees," and Article 9 asks "shall the town compensate the Town Treasurer by paying an annual salary in lieu of any statutory fees." Currently, the Town Clerk/Treasurer pulls her salary from statutory fees, Hope Blucher, a select board member said. Accroding to the Town Report, the Town Clerk's income was $13,489 from clerk fees. Last year, the base salary for the clerk/treasurer was $50,897. In total, the clerk/treausrer made $65,002. The article on the warning will allow the clerk/treasurer to make $30,000 for work as the clerk and $20,000 for the position as treasurer.

"We can use the clerk fees as another revenue stream for the town," Blucher said.

Another way Danby is trying to create more revenue involves selling some of the land the town currently holds. Passage of Articles 10, 11 and 12 would authorize the sale of the Town Hall at Danby Four Corners, the approximately 33 acres of gravel pit off Little Village Road and the 20 acres of landlocked property off Little Village Road.

Chip Wright, the chairman of the select board, said the both of the parcels of land don't really have a purpose in town and are a way to create yet another revenue stream for the town.

The town hall at Danby Four Corners is just used for Town Meeting and can be rented for parties and other events, he said. The building is not insulated and costs too much to operate, while it only brings in about $200 a year in revenue.

Blucher said the sale of the Town Hall will be emotional for some people becuase weddings and funerals have been held there; it will be a hard decision for many residents.

Finally, there are competative races in Danby for seats on the select board and the town clerk and treasurer. Janice Arnold has been the town clerk/treasurer since 1980, when the select board asked her if she wanted the job, she said.

Arnold said the job has very few dull moments and is constantly changing - like moving from Quickbooks to NEMRC [the New England Muncipal Resource Center, which provides technology and management resources].

When asked why she keeps running for town clerk/treasurer, Arnold said it was because she enjoys the job.

"It seems like one minute you're recording the birth of a child and the next thing you know, they're voting or getting married," she said.

Brenda White is opposing Arnold this year. She is currently employed at Wilcox Medical, where she is a respitory coordinator. White said between her work experience dealing with insurance and helping her husband's small business, she has a skill set that will transition well to working as town clerk/treausrer. However, if eelcted, she said she does expect to have a learning curve.

What White wants voters to know is that change can be a positive, but she also respects the work done by Arnold.

"I'm running for the job," she said. "I'm not running against a certain person."

Byron Battease is running against incumbent Margo Stone for a seat on the select board. He is a life long Danby resident whose father served on the select board in the past. He said his experince watching his father and listening to their discussions of the issues will be beneficial if he is elected. "I think there is room to try and lower the budget," he siad. "I want to see if I could make a difference."

Margo Stone and Steven Haines were repeatedly contacted but did not respond to phone messages seeking their views on the issues facing the town.


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