December 16, 2018

Town Meeting Day preview

Observer staff report

Williston voters are called to the Williston Central School auditorium Monday for a 7 p.m. start to Town Meeting Day. Ballot voting commences Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the school’s dining room.

Voters will consider proposals for the municipal and Champlain Valley School District budgets for the upcoming fiscal year, as well as several issue-based ballot questions and uncontested seats on local boards.

Representatives from the school district and town will be on hand Monday for an informational meeting on the budget proposals ahead of Tuesday’s ballot vote.

The $76.8 million school budget proposal carries a spending increase of 2.3 percent over the current year. The increase, combined with pressures on the statewide education fund, would result in an estimated 8.8 percent increase in local property taxes.

The $11.1 million town budget proposal carries a roughly 5 percent spending increase and an estimated 2 percent increase in the tax rate.

Monday’s meeting will also be an opportunity for Williston voters to weigh in on local support for Vermont’s renewable energy plan. The plan calls for sourcing 90 percent of the state’s energy needs from renewables by 2050. The selectboard added a resolution of support for voters to consider Monday after lobbying from local environmental activists.

Tuesday’s ballot asks voters whether to withdraw the town from the Winooski Valley Park District, whether to purchase the solar panels behind town hall and whether to join with other Chittenden County towns in a consolidation of emergency dispatch services.

Also, Terry Macaig and Joy Limoge are running uncontested to retain their seats on the selectboard.

The school district ballot, in addition to the budget proposal, asks voters to authorize the allocation of $750,000 in reserve funds toward the upcoming fiscal year’s revenue and assign the remaining $1.6 million in reserves as revenue for future budgets.

The district is also looking for approval to borrow $485,000 for six new school buses and use $819,000 left over from a school building improvement project in Shelburne for various upgrades in other school buildings, including a replacement of valves and controls in the heating system at Williston’s Allen Brook School.

For two open seats representing Williston on the school board, incumbent Brendan McMahon and first-time candidate Josilyn Adams are running uncontested.

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