This March, most city assembly ballots will forgo big-money requests

A sign in Brattleboro advertises the upcoming local elections on March 2nd. Photo by Kevin O’Connor / VTDigger

Last March, Vermont’s 28 communities with residents of 5,000 or more voted on special one-time spending requests – from new schools to infrastructure improvements to public swimming pools $ 250 million.

In this pandemic year, the same communities that are now proposing less than a tenth of that amount for anything beyond their regular budget are focusing on issues without high prices.

Eight of the state’s most populous hubs – Bennington, Brattleboro, Burlington, Lyndon, Middlebury, Montpelier, Waterbury and Winooski – will vote on March 2nd to allow local recreational marijuana sales from 2022.

Vermont became the eleventh state to legalize such business last fall the law requires Municipalities must “sign up” before retailers can obtain the permits they need to operate.

“To start a retail cannabis business, people will have to make significant investments in time, effort and money, and people will be reluctant to make these types of investments in a city unless they can be confident that I am allowed open, ”Middlebury attorney Dave Silberman recently told the website Heady Vermont.

The question will also appear in the smaller communities of Barton, Berlin, Brandon, Brownington, Danby, Danville, Duxbury, Lyndon, Newport City, Pawlet, Pownal, Randolph, Richmond, Salisbury, and Waitsfield, according to a VTDigger survey.

In other matters, Vermont’s largest city, Burlington will consider whether the charter should be amended to protect tenants of residential buildings from evictions without “just cause”, to make a ranking vote for the election of their council members and to regulate the thermal energy systems in residential and commercial buildings.

The nearby town of Essex and its village of Essex Junction will decide whether merge into one community with a common governance structure that supporters say would reduce costs. About 70% of the village voters approved the plan last November, which resulted in the election in the larger city.

Winooski will consider an advisory article on asking the state to suspend Vermont Air National Guard F-35 training flights, which have since been causing a high level of noise from 2019.

VTDigger is drawn by:

Barre City that has faced controversial debate Calls to raise the Black Lives Matter and police-friendly “Thin Blue Line” flags will vote on whether to limit selection of public property to banners from the community, state, state and National League of Prisoner of War / MIA families .

In southern Vermont, Bennington will think again A proposal that was rejected in 2018 and 2019 to replace the current city government system with a mayor and consider a new “Penny for Parks” reserve fund that adds a cent to the property tax rate to generate $ 100,000 annually for recreational improvements.

For its part, Brattleboro will decide whether to join a growing number of communities asking lawmakers to allow them Adopt local charter regulations approved by the state for other communities.

Several cities propose special one-time expenditure claims, but they are not as costly as in the recent past.

South BurlingtonThe company, which last year turned down a $ 210 million plan to build a new middle and high school and sports center, is targeting $ 4 million for a series of highway improvements and another $ 2.5 million -Dollars for the replacement of a school roof and associated construction work.

St. Albans CityThe company, which unsuccessfully proposed a community pool with the neighboring city of St. Albans last year, will consider tackling the $ 5 million project on its own. She will also vote on a $ 1.5 million street image improvement plan and $ 2.3 million drinking water reservoir – all from other sources, including the local option tax.

St. Albans citywill, in turn, vote on the construction of a new $ 4.5 million town hall Shelburne will decide whether to spend $ 1.12 million to buy land for a potential fire and rescue station.

The March polls in 27 of the state’s 28 largest parishes (St. Johnsbury won’t vote until April 6th) also elects local leaders like the Mayor, with incumbents Miro Weinberger in Burlington and David Allaire in Rutland City facing challengers .

And several communities will be considering moving on with federated school districts formed as part of the State Act 46 consolidation effort.

Brattleboro and the other towns in the Windham Southeast School District, Dummerston, Guilford and Putney, for example, will decide whether to dissolve the union that was formed two years ago. The question is asked less because of specific problems than to give residents the opportunity to weigh up whether they want a continuation or a change.

“This is like looking back at us,” said Kelly Young, director of Windham Southeast, at a recent meeting.

Middlebury and other towns in the Addison Central School District in Bridport, Cornwall, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge will vote on whether neighboring Ripton can be eliminated from their ranks. That idea got good words from an unlikely source: the district itself.
“A possible Ripton retreat”, be Impact assessment Says: “could result in a small saving in education spending per balanced student for the remaining cities.”

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