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By Kara Herlihy and Lisa Loomis
On March 4 Valley voters will head to town halls and elementary schools for Town Meeting, an annual rite of spring, or at least an annual rite of almost spring.
Voters this year face races for select board seats in at least three towns and face many special articles ranging from capital budget requests, to new trucks, to a new town garage, to allocations for conservation funds.
There are projects large and small, and budgets large and small, that will come before voters next. Local voters will cast ballots for local, middle and high school budgets along with town budget. Reports for local towns follow, along with information about Town Meeting luncheons.
The town of Warren will meet at the elementary school on March 4 at 9 a.m. to vote on 21 articles including a $150,000 initiative to pave existing gravel feeder roads in town and the implementation of full bike lanes on Route 100.
The town will vote by Australian ballot between the hours and 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 4. Taxpayers will vote on a proposed budget expenditure totaling $1,894,383, which accounts for an 8.23 percent increase. The capital budget forecasted expenditures total $1,353,496.
The Warren School proposed budget comes in at a 2.6 percent increase from the last year, a total of $1,819,313.
Warren has a significant list of delinquent tax offenders in 2007, reaching a total of $317,288 in unpaid taxes as of the end of 2007.
Robert Meany and Andrew Cunningham are both running for a single open position for a two-year term on the select board. Current select board member Burt Bauchner is running unopposed for re-election for a three-year term on the board. All three candidates discussed their positions on issues facing the town of Warren at an open candidate's forum held in early February. Select board chair Mac Rood's term also expires in 2008 and he is not seeking re-election.
Town constable Peter Laskowski's one-year term is up. Cemetery commissioner John Roth's five-year term is up and he is running for re-election.
Delinquent tax collector Reta Goss's one-year term is up and she is running for re-election. Goss is also running for re-election for town clerk since her one-year term is up. Town treasurer Elaine Fuller's one-year term is also up in 2008.
Library Trustee David Ellison's and Deb Whetmore's two-year terms are up, and Jennifer Moffroid's three-year term is up. The aforementioned are all running for re-election. Town Lister Gary Bombard's three-year term is up and he is running for re-election.
School director Charlotte Robinson's two-year term is up and she is running for re-election for a three-year term. School director Dan Reicher's two-year term is also up in 2008. Sasha Woolson is running for a two-year term as school director.
The Warren United Church of Christ will coordinate the traditional Town Meeting lunch in Warren again this year. Calls are being made to round up the usual cooks and a few new ones as well. All are encouraged to bring an appetite and, if inclined, a dish to share.
Waitsfield voters will line the bleachers in the elementary school gymnasium for Town Meeting this year. Town Meeting begins at 10 a.m. The polls are also open at the school from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Town voters are facing a crucial decision on whether to approve the bonding for funds to construct a municipal wastewater and water system for the town. There are three separate bond articles, one for the water project ($7.5 million), one for the first phase of a wastewater system ($5.6 million) and a third for a wastewater treatment facility ($6.4 million).
Voters will also be asked to cast ballots on a revision of the town's subdivision regulations. The 20-year-old regulations were rewritten and approved by the select board last summer. A voter petition for a town-wide vote on the regulations resulted in an October vote where the regulations were defeated. They were revised to address two areas of concern voiced by opponents (connectivity between developments and protection of prime ag lands) and are being sent back to the voters.
Town voters have the choices to make for two select board seats. Bill Parker is challenging incumbent Sal Spinosa for a three-year term on the board and Rich Rivers and Kate Williams are vying for an open two-year term on the board.
Waitsfield voters will also be asked to return town clerk/treasurer Jennifer Peterson to office along with assistant town clerk/delinquent tax collector Janet Smith.
Wrenn Flemmer Compere is running for re-election to a three-year term on the school board and Missy Siner Shea is running for re-election to a two-year term on the school board. John Reilly is running for re-election to a three-year term as a lister. Jim Leyton is running for re-election as an auditor, for a three-year term.
Town voters will be asked to approve $92,000 for the capital reserve fund as well as $30,000 for a covered bridge repair/reserve fund. Voters will be asked to approve a $1,259,230 town budget and an elementary school budget of $2,099,637.
The town of Fayston will hold their annual Town Meeting at the elementary school on Tuesday, March 4, at 10 a.m to vote on 25 articles including the Carbon Shredders "10 by 10" carbon reduction programs and a town office policy that would no longer allow the space to be used for classes, functions and events.
The town will vote on a proposed general budget totaling $756,052 and a capital budget totaling $168,000. At 1 p.m. the town will vote on the total school expenditures proposed at $1,582,934, a six percent increase from the last year.
Select board member Ed Read's three-year term is up; town clerk Virginia Vasseur's one-year term is up; town treasurer Patti Lewis' one-year term is up. School director Bob Lockett's two-year term is up as well as chair Mike Riddel's three-year term.
Fayston cemetery commissioner Zelda La Vanway's three-year term is up as well as Augusta Grave's three-year term as town lister.
The annual potluck lunch will be held at the elementary school at noon. The potluck will be hosted by the Fayston PTO and costs $5.
Moretown will hold the annual Town Meeting on Tuesday, March 4, at 10 a.m. at the Town Hall to vote on 38 articles including a $160,000 of the capital reserve fund for the purchase of a new rescue truck for the fire department.
The town will also vote on a $900,000 article for the purchase of a two-and-one-half-acre lot for a new town garage. The town garage committee along with the select board decided to keep the garage at its current location and still use the space for material storage.
Moretown will also hold pre-Town Meeting Monday evening, March 3, at the Moretown Elementary School at 7 p.m. to discuss items to be voted on the following day. The polls will open on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The proposed town budget for 2008 totals $885,656; the school budget reached $1,654,928.
In Moretown, Select Board chair Paula Mastroberardino is running again for a one-year term; select board member Don Wexler is running again for a one-year term; and select board member John Hoogenboom is running for a three-year term.
Select board member Rae Washburn's term as well as select board member Stephanie Venema's terms have yet to run out. Harold "Hoover" Austin is also running as a write-in candidate for a one-year position on the Moretown Select Board.
Charlie Abare is running for one of the two open one-year select board positions. Jay Pilliod is running again for a three-year Moretown School Board position along with Bob Holden, who is also running again for a Harwood School Board three-year position. Amy Bolger is running for a one-year position on the Moretown School Board.
Chares Abare Jr. is running for constable along with Clarence Wood. Craig Eilers is running once more for a one-year tax collector position, and Mary Joe Davis is running for lister.
Running for the open three-year town clerk/treasurer position are Amy Deutl and Cherilyn Bandy. Arnold Eastman is also running for a three-year position as cemetery commissioner.
This year, the Town Meeting lunch is being served by the Historical Department. This is also the first year babysitting services will be offered in the elementary school gym from 9:30 to noon. World-class babysitters Moe Moulton and Heather Cutler as well as two parents, Heidi Magill and Lynn Metcalf, will provide the babysitting for parents attending the Moretown Town Meeting. The babysitting is not offered to infants at this time.
Duxbury will hold their annual Town Meeting on Tuesday, March 4, at 9 a.m. at Crossett Brook Middle School. Taxpayers will vote on 19 articles including a repeat performance of select board member Dick Charland's PowerPoint presentation regarding space issues facing the town office and vault space.
Taxpayers will also vote on the 2008 proposed general budget totaling $604,396, a capital reserve budget $553,086, and a proposed union 45 school budget equaling $9,073,241.
On the Duxbury Select Board, terms are up for Joanne Berno, Kim Andrews and Richard Charland. Lister Jeff Eshim's term is also up, along with Duxbury School District's Todd Seymour and Rochester Duxbury School Board member Michael Roche's, whose terms are also up.
Town school director to Harwood Union Dave Rappaport's term is also up. Auditor Eileen Eshim's term is up, and Vicki Viens' term on the budget committee is up. Kim Greenwood's term as cemetery commissioner is up.
The fifth- and sixth-grade "Wizard Team" at Crossett Brook Middle School will host the traditional chicken pie supper to benefit their field trip to the Ferry Beach Ecology School in April. The lunch costs $8 and take-out is available if ordered in advance.