L-R Jimmy Leas, Thomas Chittenden, Katie Langrock, Pat Nowak, Vince Bolduc, Brandon Lee and William Wong.

Town Meeting Day 2017: What’s on the Ballot?

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Thursday March 02, 2017

The Vermont tradition of hosting a public town meeting to address each ballot item prior to voting provides a great opportunity for citizens to be sure they are informed voters. The City of South Burlington welcomes residents to an annual ‘Pre-Town Meeting’ held the night before voting day. This year’s Pre-Town Meeting will take place Monday, March 6 beginning at 7 p.m. at the F.H. Tuttle Middle School cafeteria. Luckily, for voters, this March the ballot is straightforward, with no bond items or special articles to consider.

City and School Budgets

City Council Chair Helen Riehle will open the pre-town meeting at 7 p.m. Deputy City Manager Tom Hubbard will present the proposed FY18 budget, which includes a 2.97 percent property tax increase to support city services including but not limited to police, fire and rescue, recreation and parks, library, public works, planning and zoning, and the city clerk’s office. The annual increased cost this represents to the owner of a single-family residence valued at $336,000 is about $49. A condo with an average value of $227,000 would see an increase of $33 for the year. The public safety communications bond, which was passed by voters in 2016, goes into effect July 1, 2017 with an annual cost of approximately $21 for the average detached home, and $14 for the average condo. There will be time for questions and discussion after the presentation.

At 7:30 p.m., Superintendent David Young, and Business Manager John Aubin will present the school district’s proposed budget. The FY18 budget results in a property tax increase of 2.10 percent. Prior to income sensitivity, a condo valued at $227,000 would see an increase of $77 and a detached primary residence valued at $336,000 would see an increase of $114.

Water Commissioner

Also on the ballot is the election of a water commissioner to the Champlain Water District Board of Commissioners. Dennis Lutz is running unopposed for this position

City Council and School Board Candidates

Following budget presentations, there will be time for residents to get to know the candidates for city council and school board as they engage in discussions about their experience and priorities.

The City Council Candidate Forum is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. There are four candidates running for two city council seats. Katie Langrock is running against incumbent Tom Chittenden for the three-year seat. Jimmy Leas and incumbent Pat Nowak are vying for the two year seat.
There are two candidates on the ballot for two open school board seats being vacated by Julie Beatty and Chair Patrick Leduc. Alex McHenry is running for the three-year term while Steve Wisloski is running for the two-year term. The school board forum starts at 8:45 p.m.

If you can’t make it to the candidate debate and want to know more, the February 23 issue of The Other Paper published a three-page spread with the city council candidates’ views on multiple city issues such as City Center, Burlington International Airport, economic growth, and residential development. Read responses to the “2017 City Council Candidate Questionnaire” online at www.otherpapersbvt.com. Click on the red “Archived Issues” link to find the February 23 issue, questionnaire can be read on pages six, seven, and eight, school board is on page 11.

Also, check out Channel 17, cctv.org for video of city and school budgets and candidate interviews which were taped in February. Budget information is also available on the city and school websites, and printed copies of the budget book are available at city hall. Early voting is an option if you can’t make it to the polls Tuesday. Contact the city clerk’s office at 846-4105 for more information

What’s Not on the Ballot

Residents Marcy Brigham and Dan Emmons have launched a write-in campaign for the open positions on the school board.

City Center Park Public Arts Submissions
Check out the display set up in the middle school lobby during the Pre-Town Meeting. Artist’s talks are scheduled at 5:30 p.m.

SOURCE: Corey Burdick,correspondent