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.


Joyce Dicianna said...

Just want to say I missed being with all of you on Town Meeting night. But I heard you survived despite my absence. Take care, Riptonites!

Iftikhar Ahmed said...
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