Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Our school district gets a new superintendent

The Addison County Supervisory Union (ACSU), to which Ripton belongs, just obtained a new superintendent.

Peter L. Burrows is from Oregon, and will join ACSU this summer.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The 2013 town meeting, live blogged

Live-blogging the town meeting, as long as my battery holds out.

We began with an informational meeting about the proposal school roof project.  A school board representative and two contractors answered questions from the community.

At 7:30 the town meeting proper began.  We thanked Joyce Dicianna for her fine facilitation services, then considered major spending articles. General spending, then emergency services funding, passed
after discussion.  We thanked Ronnie Wimmet and Erik Ericsen for their services to the community concerning road repair and emergency services, respectively.  We also passed a tax collection article.

We then transitioned to discuss a nonbinding measure against a tar sands pipeline, planned to cross northeastern Vermont.  One proponent outlined its possible environmental dangers.  Another advocate for the measure reported that most state government officials would look
favorably upon this measure.  Discussion followed, touching on technical details of the pipeline, actions by other towns, and fuel labeling.  We then passed the measure without dissent.

The next measure before the community concerned changing our budgeting calendar, asking us to shift to a fiscal year.  Sayler Hoyler, proponent, took a break from taking minutes to explain the measure.  One benefit of the calendar shift would be easing the town office workflow for winter budgeting, while avoiding the current practice of having two months without a budget.  Another advantage would be setting several enforceable tax payment due dates.  Moreover, the town
can hold onto education taxes a little longer, winning some extra interest income.  The select board spoke against the fiscal calendar, arguing that it would make budgeting more difficult.  General
discussion followed.  We adopted the article with significant dissent. State representative Willem Jewett gave his constituents' report, starting by describing how challenging the federal sequester is for
Vermont's budget ("it blew a $15 million hole in it").  Said constituents expressed their thoughts about prescription drugs, education policy, and the budget.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Town meeting ahead

The Addison Indy gives an overview of what's before us for next week's town meeting.

School-related decisions will dominate Ripton’s town meeting agenda this year.
Those decisions will include votes on two proposed 20-year bond issues — one to finance a new roof for the local elementary school, and the other to fund a series of solar panels that would be placed on the new structure.


The Ripton selectboard is proposing a 2013 highway budget of  $294,679, down from the $353,350 approved last year. The decrease is associated with some extraordinary road repair costs that occurred last year as a result of Tropical Storm Irene and a May 29 storm.

The proposed general fund budget comes in at $266,637, down from the $270,711 OK’d last year.

Other articles on the Ripton town meeting warning seek:
•  $35,200 to help pay for Ripton fire and rescue services.
•  A combined total of $15,880 for various Addison County nonprofits that provide services to Addison County residents.
•  Support for a petitioned, advisory item opposing the transport of tar sands oil through Vermont.

There will be no contested local elections in Ripton this year. Incumbent Selectman Richard Collitt is unopposed for a three-year term.

Meanwhile, incumbent Ripton Elementary School board members Willem Jewett and Michael Hussey are not running for re-election. Resident Perry Hanson will run for a two-year term on the school board but the second vacancy will have to be filled through a write-in campaign or by appointment.

The annual meeting will be held on Monday, March 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ripton Community House. Australian ballot voting will take place the next day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Ripton town office.

Click that link for more details.