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Voters approve municipal, school budgets

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

 

Cris Milks, a teacher at Willistion Central School, gets some loving support from her daughter Sylvia, 5, as she registers to vote on March 6 at the Williston Armory. (Observer photo by Marianne Apfelbaum)

On Super Tuesday, the Williston voting public passed the town’s municipal and school budgets by wide margins, and in fact affirmative votes outweighed dissenting opinions in every category of the town ballot.

The fiscal year 2013 municipal budget of $8,311,530 – a 3 percent increase over last fiscal year – was approved by a margin of 1,113-372.

The $16,621,868 Williston school budget – a 1.95 percent annual increase – was passed 934-521.

The Champlain Valley Union High School budget of $21,425,188 – a 1.5 percent annual increase – also received approval from voters in the multiple towns it serves. The vote was 3,649-1,850.

ELECTIONS

There was little election drama this year, with all contests decided in uncontested races.

As expected, incumbent Selectboard members Terry Macaig and Chris Roy were re-elected. Macaig received 1,264 votes. Roy received 1,190 votes.

Incumbent Williston School Board members Deb Baker-Moody and Giovanna Boggero were also re-elected, as was Jonathan Milne, who will serve a three-year term on the CVU board.

In other elections, Barbara Mieder and Kathleen Fernee were approved as library trustees and Charles Coney was named to the town’s board of listers.

TOWN BALLOT QUESTIONS

Apart from the town’s overall operating budget, there were three separate ballot questions that asked voters to increase their tax liability in exchange for town improvements.

In a 1,224-278 landslide, residents voted to approve the borrowing of up to $200,000, over a term not to exceed 10 years, for roof and insulation improvements at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library.

“A library in a town is very important,” said resident Joyce Page as she exited the Williston Armory after casting her vote. “If you take that away, you take away a lot.”

Also approved, by a margin of 1,022-461, was a measure authorizing the borrowing of up to $400,000 over a 10-year period for the purchase of land and other related expenses for a new water storage tank. Although the location of the land has yet to be finalized, Williston Town Manager Rick McGuire indicated at the Town Meeting that it will likely be in the area of town where Old Stage Road meets Mountain View Road.

Williston resident Brian Decatur, who voted “yes” on the water tank question, commented: “If it’s a big enough piece of land, we can use it for other things, like a local garden.”

A ballot question that will have the effect of increasing the town’s baseline budget by $160,000, for the repair of certain paved roads, was also approved by a large margin. The vote was 1,261-212.

Mike Isham, in a conversation with the Observer outside the polling booths, said he voted in favor of the road repair measure.

“It’s important to keep up the infrastructure so we don’t get behind on it,” Isham said.

NATIONAL PRIMARIES

On a primary day that saw Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum defeat frontrunner Mitt Romney in several key battleground states, Williston residents who chose to vote in the Republican primary gave the edge to Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

Romney received 404 votes from Williston residents, compared to 194 for Santorum. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) placed second, with a total of 207 votes.

President Barack Obama, who is running uncontested on the Democratic ticket in his quest for a second term in the White House, received 597 votes from Willistonians.