Town Meeting Day 2019
Updated: 10:35 p.m. Tuesday, March 5
This story will contain breaking news updates for Town Meeting Day. We'll continue updating through the day as results come in. Check back often for updates to races, budget votes and takes on Town Meeting Day in the Northshire. Have results we don't have? If you are a town clerk or other town official, report them to Editor Darren Marcy at email@example.com or 802-681-6534. We will have full stories and results in Friday's Manchester Journal.
Updates are in reverse chronological order with the newest information at the top. Be sure to scroll to the bottom to see older results.
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8:30 p.m. Tuesday
Arlington voters approved the proposal to create the position of town administrator next year, 391 to 114. It was one of 42 articles in the town meeting warning and one of the most anticipated results.
7:26 p.m. Tuesday
Manchester's ballot results with the three-year select board seat pending because it's a write-in race.
7:04 p.m. Tuesday
Polls are closed!
6:55 p.m. Tuesday
The following people were elected to office during floor votes Tuesday .
Jon Mowry (to complete term of Gail Acosta)
6:15 p.m. Tuesday
Some of the other towns have reported results from morning meetings.
Stratton passed both town and school budgets. Town added $2,000 for Londonderry Rescue and Wardsboro Rescue. The school budget passed. An effort was made to reduce the tuition paid to Burr and Burton Academy to the state average, but after a conversation with school head Mark Tashjien. The amendment did not pass.
Peru town voters passed the budget and all appropriations, even adding $1,000 for the library to the warned appropriations.
2:55 p.m. Tuesday
It took nearly four hours, but Londonderry Town Meeting voters worked through a 22-item agenda on Tuesday morning, setting a $1.84 million budget for fiscal 2020.
Things bogged down in the back end of the agenda, when residents took up voter appropriations for non-profit agencies and organizations. But the mood mostly remained light, as voters and moderator Doug Friant kept their sense of humor through the amendments, and amendments to amendments.
Voters heard from State Rep. Kelly Pajala, who is also Londonderry's Town Clerk. She addresed the debate on proposed changes to the Taconic & Green pre-Kindergarten program, and urged residents with children approaching pre-K age to be in contact with BRSU officials about their needs. "The more information the SU has, the better the long-term result is going to be," she said.
There were no changes in elected officials, as incumbents were re-elected unopposed. They included Select Board members Georgianne Mora and Taylor Prouty, and listers Sandra Clark and Julie Adams.
2:30 p.m. Tuesday
When Londonderry voters and officials gathered at Town Hall on Tuesday morning, they had an audience of students learning a thing or two about their town, and about democracy.
Students in Grades 6, 7 and 8 from Flood Brook Union School took seats in the balcony and watched as their neighbors progressed through the agenda. They took notes as voters navigated Robert's Rules of Order, chose elected officials, appropriated funds and set the town budget for fiscal 2020.
Teacher Carinthia Grayson explained that the students are in the middle of a unit called "what you know about where you live." And other than tasting warm maple syrup right off the tap, what's more Vermont than Town Meeting?
11:39 a.m. Tuesday
The Winhall Town Meeting opened at 11:20 and recessed at 11:35. Voters approved the budget without opposition. Polls will remain open until this afternoon for Australian ballot voting.
11:05 a.m. Tuesday
The Winhall School Meeting has broken up and the room is emptying out. Voters passed everything without a single vote against. The budget of $3,411,445, a 15.4 percent decrease, was passed unanimously, as well as several other budget items. The town portion of the meeting will begin after a doughnut break.
10:40 a.m. Tuesday
The Stratton Town meeting adjourned, with all the articles passed by voters. Among them, the number of planning commissioners was reduced from seven to five.
10:05 a.m. Tuesday
The Stratton Town Meeting was called to order, and 69 voters were tallied as present. On the agenda are 13 articles, including the town's proposed general and highway funds for the coming fiscal year.
10:05 a.m. Tuesday
The stand-up comedy routine of moderator Scott Bushee, also known as Town Meeting in Winhall, has begun. It's standing room only with voters standing along the side wall. The gathering is beginning with Winhall School District meeting where a big decrease in spending is proposed.
10:05 p.m. Monday
Sunderland voters set aside $151,500 for highway maintenance-related funds, and a sum yet to be determined for a salt shed reserve fund, at Town Meeting on Monday night.
The session, at Sunderland Elementary School, finished up in 45 minutes - and that included 10 minutes of “other business.”
The proposed Fiscal 2020 budget of $250,138 for the general fund and $369,900 for the highway fund will be voted on by Australian ballot between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Sunderland will also be voting on the Taconic & Green school budget and a slate of T&G board candidates.
Among the appropriations meeting with voter approval were $65,000 each for the highway equipment and paving reserve funds; $15,000 for the highway reserve fund; and $1,500 for the guardrail reserve fund.
Town clerk Rose Keough explained to voters that the money is needed up front so that the town can pay its share of grant funding, and then be reimbursed. The town needs to have the cash on hand in order to take advantage of those grants, she said.
Another new fund, established by voters and to be funded with any leftover money in the highway fund at the end of fiscal 2019, will be put aside for the town to eventually build a larger salt shed.
9:36 p.m. Monday
Sunderland voters showed courtesy during -- and after -- Town Meeting. And that wasn't just in the way voters got along and voiced few disagreements.
Rather than leave chairs for the Sunderland Elementary School maintenance staff to put away on Tuesday, voters put their chairs away themselves.
That will undoubtedly be appreciated.
9:30 p.m. Monday
Not even a cold could keep State Rep. Kathleen James away from Sunderland Town Meeting.
James, with tissues in hand, arrived just in time for other business and took a few minutes to fill in voters on her activities so far as a freshman legislator before excusing herself.
“I’m going to take me and my germs on out of here,” she said, and then did just that.
9:20 p.m. Monday
The Arlington School District's annual meeting closed after about an hour's discussions.
9 p.m. Monday
Sunderland voters got more than they bargained for at Town Meeting at Sunderland Elementary School -- another write-in candidate for Select Board.
Robert Zens put his name forward during other business as interested in serving one of Sunderland's three vacant positions. Connor Stewart had previously indicated his willingness to be written in for the position.
Zens volunteered after outgoing chair Mark Hyde made a pitch for serving on the board to the 35 or so voters who gathered in the gym at Sunderland Elementary School to conduct town business.
"Anyone can do it. You don't have to be an expert ... you just have to have a willingness to do it," Hyde said.
When Zens tossed his hat in the ring, board member Jon French asked if he was interested in the one-year seat or the three-year seat.
"One [year] sounds great," Zens replied.
Sunderland has had difficulty attracting volunteers for boards, but there were more interest from voters on Monday night. James Ayrey said he'd stand for grand juror and town agent. And new town moderator Cindy Herrmann said she'd stand for auditor as well as for moderator next year, as former moderator Sally Ayrey has stepped down.
8:35 p.m. Monday
Dorset voters have completed their business in a tidy 1 hour and 30 minutes. Voters passed every funding request with one-single nay. A male voice opposed the $20,000 budget request for by the Dorset Players. The meeting has been adjourned until 7 a.m. when polls open. The items on the ballot are the budget, which drew no discussion tonight. There are three Select Board seats as Jim Salsgiver is challenging Jack Stannard for his three-year seat in the only contested race. Megan Thorn and Liz Ruffa are running unopposed for re-election to their one-year seats.
8:15 p.m. Monday
The Arlington School District's annual meeting has started. The agenda includes discussing the six articles on the Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union report, which will be on the ballot Tuesday.
8:05 p.m. Monday
Linda Crosby, who is retiring as Arlington town treasurer on Tuesday, received a standing ovation from the assembly. She has been treasurer and assistant treasurer for nearly 30 years.
"I have a confession to you all. I've never had a bookkeeping course in my life," Crosby said to laughter from the crowd. "But I do love numbers. I love puzzles, and I love people ... It's been a pleasure."
7:50 p.m. Monday
While voting on funding for the East Dorset Cemetery Association, the moderator asked if Mr. Beebe was in the audience. "No, he's in the cemetery," came a voice. The moderator quickly corrected himself, "No, his son," as the room broke into laughter.
7 p.m. Monday
Dorset is underway with three girl scouts leading the room in the Pledge of Allegiance.
6:45 p.m. Monday
Rep. Cynthia Browning (Bennington-4), who also serves as a Select Board member in Arlington, told meeting attendees she heard on Vermont Public Radio that Town Meeting Day has been held since 1762.
State Sen. Brian Campion (Bennington) and Rep. Kathleen James (Bennington-4) also stopped by the Arlington meeting.
6:35 p.m., Monday
Arlington Town Meeting has been called to order. Voters will be considering the town budget and many expect the town administrator, which is on Tuesday's Australian ballot, will likely come up.
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