Vogel is appointed as town treasurer; tax rate set

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MANCHESTER — The town's months-long search for a new treasurer ended Tuesday night with the appointment of Brian Vogel to the post, succeeding David Fielding Jr.

Vogel, a former member and chairman of the Manchester School Board, was unanimously appointed by the Select Board and sworn in by Town Clerk Anita Sheldon.

Fielding, the town treasurer for 38 years, had been provisionally reappointed at Town Meeting, as he agreed to put off his retirement from the post until a replacement was found.

Vogel said town manager John O'Keefe reached out to him a few weeks ago to gauge his interest in the position. The opportunity to serve the community and grow his skill set beyond his investment background appealed to Vogel, he said.

"I'm looking forward to working with [O'Keefe] and Greg Cutler and members of the investment committee," he said.

Vogel said he had yet to sit down with Fielding — "Those are big shoes to fill, he's first-class," Vogel said of the outgoing treasurer — but he looks forward to meeting with Fielding to get a sense of the month-to-month responsibilities of the job.

"I want to do as good a job as I can for the town," he said.

Vogel is a chartered financial analyst at Manchester Capital Management.

Appointing a new treasurer wasn't the only financial task for the Select Board on Tuesday, as it approved property tax rates for fiscal 2019.

The homestead rate for Manchester, combining municipal and school property taxes, decreased to $1.8065 per $100 of appraised value from $1.9264 per $100 last year.

For non-residential rate payers, the combined rate is going up slightly, to $1.8073 per $100 in appraised value from $1.80.

O'Keefe explained that although the town's portion of taxes decreased by about 1 cent, the total town share — including voter-approved expenditures and exemptions — rose 2.3 percent. However, Manchester's school tax rate decreased as an end result of the Act 46 merger that created the Taconic and Green Regional School District, and the tax incentives the state offered as an inducement to consolidate school districts.

The town had expected its Grand List of property values would increase this year, but the overall value decreased through property owner grievances, O'Keefe said.

The board, acting in its capacity as sewer commissioners, also raised the sewer rate to 0.044 cents from 0.043 cents, starting with the next billing cycle.

In other business, the board heard from Manchester Business Association president Paul W. Carroccio, who updated the board on MBA's activities since Town Meeting voters approved $50,000 for the marketing group.

Carroccio said MBA has raised about $39,000 in matching funds to meet the town contribution, and planned to finalize a membership proposal at a board meeting on Wednesday in which businesses can participate at various dues levels.

A board meeting was planned for Wednesday, he said, and the hope is that a public forum and membership meeting will be held in about a month, at which the group will elect board members.

The board discussed, but did not act upon, a proposed change to the special events ordinance that would add permission for temporary signage to its purview. Currently, permission for such signage has to be approved through the planning and zoning department, as temporary signage has been addressed by the town zoning ordinance.

While board members sounded support for the change, board chair Ivan C. Beattie voiced concerns that the relevant passage might best be removed from the zoning ordinance first, so there aren't two sets of operative rules governing signs.

The board also appointed Lawrence Grant Jr. as fire warden and Philip Bourn as assistant fire warden.

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