VPR’s Bob Kinzel was on hand for Town Meeting Day results in our special Town Meeting call-in program. He was joined in the studio by Steve Jeffrey of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. Also on hand was John Nelson of the Vermont Superintendents Association to talk about trends in education spending.
We heard the latest developments from reporters around the state including VPR’s John Dillon and Nina Keck. And you can hear it all by clicking on the Listen icon.
Here’s a rundown of stories reported on the program
Towns Look at Reductions
Steve Jeffery of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns and a moderator in
Northfield said during special coverage of town meeting on VPR on Tuesday
that some communities are facing the possibility of layoffs because of the
economic downturn. Jeffery said that the town of Hartford was looking at
the possibility of laying off six or seven people. He said that St. Albans
City, for example, was considering a reduction of staff in its fire
department. He said that Vermont’s municipalities are looking under every
nook and cranny to save money.
Hancock to Close School
A caller to VPR said that voters in Hancock decided to shut down their two
room school house. The caller said the school is the oldest operating
two-room schoolhouse in the entire country. She said in part the reason to
shut down was a result of a move to consolidate in the state. The shutdown
will affect about 30 students.
In Two Votes, Craftsbury Decides to Fix School
In Craftsbury, VPR’s Steve Zind reports on the two-vote school budget. The
Craftsbury Academy building is badly in need of repairs. The school gym
can’t be used when winds are high or when there are more than 3 inches of
snow on the roof. And on Town Meeting Day, the heating system broke down.
Zind reported that it was probably the coldest town meeting in the entire
state. The question was about a 7.5 percent increase to make the necessary
repairs to the school building. Discussion centered around the larger
issue of whether a small community like Craftsbury can continue to educate
students or whether they should tuition students to neighboring
communities. Both votes were approved to fix the building.
Many Towns Vote for Yankee Resolution
VPR’s John Dillon reports on the ballot item on Vermont Yankee. Dillon was
in Calais and Middlesex. The resolution passed in both towns. Dillon says
that out of 40-plus towns, about 25 voted in favor so far. Dillon says
this will be a strong message to lawmakers since the resolution asks the
Legislature to reject Vermont Yankee’s request to operate the nuclear
plant for another 20 years after its license expires in 2012. According to
the organizers of the move to put the item on the ballot, these are the
towns voting in favor of the resolution so far: Charlotte, Warren,
Westfield, Calais, East Montpelier, Plainfield, Charleston, Dummerston,
Richmond, Holland, Hinesburg, Brookline, Newfane, Westminster, Corinth,
Greensboro, Townshend, Putney, Woodbury, Worcester, Guilford, Windham,
Halifax and Marshfield.
Kellogg-Hubbard Library Funds Getting OK’d
Sue Allen, the editor of the Barre Montpelier Times Argus, was on the air
and said it appeared that budgets are passing in Central Vermont. She
reports that Plainfield voted to take fluoride out of the water system
there. She said town and school officials are tightening their belts. She
said there is one place where money is being approved: the
Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier is getting extra money they asked
for… about $70,000.
Middlebury Holds Meeting in Town Hall Theatre
Ed called in to say that the Middlebury Town Meeting was held in the Town
Hall Theatre and it was a big community event, since the building has been
undergoing an extensive renovation. Town employees were honored for taking
a cut in their prescription benefits. All the social service agencies were
approved even in difficult times. Moderator Gov. Jim Douglas was reported
to have been his witty self.
Louras Is Returned as Mayor in Rutland City
In Rutland City, VPR’s Nina Keck reports that in the mayoral race there,
incumbent Christopher Louras has won handily over David Trapeni. She
reports that it was a fairly quiet election. Property taxes were a big
issue. Water and sewer rates are up, and she said that city voters are
feeling squeezed. Trapeni was focusing on taxes and saying the city
couldn’t afford any more taxes. Louras said he had been doing that. Voters
were apparently willing to give Louras the backing to continue his work.
Louras says he’s been trying to fill the vacant downtown stores and has
worked with the downtown to provide free rent for a year for a business
willing to locate downtown.
Wright Leading in Burlington Mayoral Contest
Bob Kinzel just reported that the Burlington mayor’s race first round
numbers are in. No candidate got 50 percent, so instant runoff voting
will be in effect. Here are the results so far:
Republican Kurt Wright, 33 percent
Progressive Bob Kiss, 29 percent
Democrat Andy Montroll, 23 percent
Independent Dan Smith, 13 percent
Green Party James Simpson, under 1 percent
Kiss Wins in Third Round of IRV
Bob Kinzel has just reported that incumbent Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss, the
Progressive, has been re-elected to a second term on the third round of
instant runoff voting. Kurt Wright, the Republican has come in second.
Tight Economic Times in Northwest
Ed Shamy of the County Courier reported that Enosburg voted against a new
truck; in Georgia townspeople seemed to feel there has been skimping on
pavement, but an amendment for funds got voted down. Sheldon’s school
budget is up less than 1 percent, but it was voted down. Shamy says a lot
of people are saying that we cannot spend money because of the economy. He
says the national statistics we hear about have hit home in Northwestern
Vermont. That said, according to Shamyh, Sheldon voted for a new firehouse
for $350,000. He said town budgets are generally lower than last year.
Vermont Edition: Town Meeting Day
We learn about Switzerland’s 800-year-old Town Meeting tradition and check in with town meeting officers and participants for a look at how the institution is faring in Vermont.
Town Meeting Day Photos
Check out some of these pics taken by VPR Staffers at meetings and polling places this morning.
Town Meeting Tradition, a 2008 documentary
Join the discussion about Town Meeting Day
Latest news from the Associated Press
- In all, 33 towns supported closing of nuke plant
- Town won’t fund enforcement of nudity ban
- Bigger buildings pass vote in Manchester
- 22 towns vote to block Vermont Yankee from operating beyond 2012
- Stowe voters approve saving former church
- Warren voters give no-confidence vote to VT Yankee
- Plainfield bans flouride
- Town meetings getting underway
- In Manchester, voters hold off on wind project
- In Burlington, $9.7 million bond on ballot
- Essex voters reject local option sales tax