Winhall voters elect first woman ever to board

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WINHALL — Winhall Town Meeting voters made short work of their floor meeting Tuesday morning, running through school issues in an hour and then, after a break, knocking out town issues in 15 minutes.

When ballots were counted at the end of the day, Winhall had elected a woman to serve on the Select Board for the first time in the town's history.

Julie Isaacs was appointed to serve after David Glabach died last summer, becoming the first woman to serve on the Winhall Select Board. But with Tuesday's election, Isaacs became the first woman ever elected to the board in the town's 258-year history.

Earlier in the day, every proposal put to voters passed without a dissenting vote.

Voters approved the town school budget without dissent, approving the $3,411,445 without discussion.

The budget represents a 15.4 percent decrease from last year, for a tax rate of about $1.71 per $100 in valuation.

School board chairwoman Jennifer Samuelson said that's a rate reduction of about 40 cents.

Samuelson reminded voters that there were still a few variables related to state actions, but any changes wouldn't have that much of an impact one way or the other.

Samuelson said the tax rate of $1.71 is "well in line with our historic tax rates."

Voters also approved to pay tuition to Burr and Burton Academy at the rate of $17,490 per resident student in grades 9-12.

BBA headmaster Mark Tashjian addressed the crowd on BBA's tuition request. "What a difference a year makes," he said as the audience agreed.

A year ago, Winhall was facing an unexpected spike in enrollment and a per-pupil spending penalty. Its choices were to reduce its tuition to BBA to the state average, ending its

longstanding sending town agreement with the independent school, or pay the higher sending town tuition, which would have resulted in a larger tax increase.

BBA ended the impasse by offering to accept the lower tuition figure for one year only.

The voters also agreed to two measures that would build a tax stabilization tax fund, which Samuelson said was to be used to offset the spending required in case of another spike in enrollment.

Voters approved a measure authorizing the school board to transfer any remaining surplus on June 30th to the reserve fund.

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Taxpayers then voted to approve putting $100,000 into that same fund.

Voters also approved moving $85,000 from the anticipated general fund surplus to the bus reserve fund.

The school district recessed it's meeting after about an hour, and following a break, the municipal town meeting begin.

Voters quickly passed the town budget without any discussion.

The final item on the agenda, "other business," ended up with town moderator Scott Bushee handed out some praise.

As a 19-year employee of the town, Bushee told voters that the Select Board sitting before them was doing a good job.

"You've got good leaders here," Bushee said. "They don't often get the appreciation they deserve. They don't often get told they do a good job. So, hey, you're doing a good job."

He then turned to the police department.

"From the early days of the Winhall PD to what you have now is such a remarkable improvement," Bushee said.

He pointed out that each officer is also medically trained, then threw in some of his trademark humor.

"It's not just that they'll come to your house and kill a robber, but they'll save your life too," Bushee said. "These guys take a lot of crap, but they do their job, they're professional and they're some of the niceset guys you'll ever meet."

To close out the meeting, Select Board vice-chairman Stuart Coleman remembered Glabach, who died on July 22 at the age of 75.

"Dave was here for a long time," Coleman said. "He was a true friend to everybody."

All candidates on the paper ballot ran unopposed.

Elizebeth Grant was re-elected to as town clerk and town treasurer. Kathryn Coleman was elected delinquent tax collector, Lucia Wing was elected to a lister position, and Alexander William Bilka was elected to serve as town agent and grand juror.

Dean Gianotti Jr., running unopposed, was re-elected to the Winhall School Board.

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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