At a special town meeting Tuesday night in Northfield, voters gave their overwhelming support to the idea of merging the town and village in hopes of streamlining municipal operations and avoiding small-town political squabbling.
Most of Northfield’s population lives in the village.
The town is still reeling from Tropical Storm Irene damage, and supporters of merging the two municipalities say such a move would be cost effective and efficient.
"We have had a history of squaring off," said Chris Bradley, chair of Northfield’s Select Board and an ardent supporter of a merger. "The reasons are legitimate because you’re looking at things from two separate perspectives. But, at the end of the day, both boards want what’s best for the community."
Merging town and village is not a new proposition in Northfield – it has come before the Select Board in the past – but Bradley says this time around, in a new economic climate, there’s a groundswell of public support.
"People are very cognizant of the taxes they pay, and what they receive for those taxes," Bradley said.
The vote in support of a merger is only the first step in a lengthy public process that would eventually include presenting the Vermont Legislature with a merger plan during the 2013 legislative session.
Any merger would also require a charter change.