Fairlee Voters Breeze Through Short Town Meeting

Valley News Correspondent
Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Fairlee — One of Fairlee’s briefest Town Meetings in recent history, and the last to be held in the Samuel Morey Elementary School gymnasium, ended in sublime harmony Tuesday morning.

Not a whimper of dissent emerged in the 45 minutes from start to finish. All 11 articles on the warning, including the election of 16 town officers, none of whom were opposed, plus town and highway budgets, were approved unanimously by voice vote.

More than 100 people attended the meeting, including about 30 sixth-graders from Gordon Christie-Maples’ social studies course.

Both Town Moderator Bruce Taylor and Town Clerk Georgette Wolf-Ludwig agreed that it was one of the shortest Town Meetings, if not the shortest, in their memories.

The town budget of $943,828 was approved along with the highway budget of $178,538. Municipal taxes totaling $1,162,578 — including water bond and dam payments — also were approved.

This will mean an increase in the municipal tax rate from 53.2 cents per $100 of valuation last year to about 55.9 cents, according to Town Treasurer Lisa Hinsley. She said this would result in a $68 increase for a home valued at $250,000.

Twenty-four individual appropriations, all included in the town budget, were endorsed, ranging from $50 for Green Up Vermont to $42,011 to Upper Valley Ambulance for emergency services.

Last week, Fairlee voters strongly approved two bond issues totaling $3.7 million to finance water system improvements. The annual Rivendell Interstate School District Meeting will be held on March 20, at 6:30 p.m., in the Rivendell Academy gym in Orford.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Selectboard Chairwoman Catherine McGrath presented, on behalf of the town, a framed commendation to the elementary school “for graciously hosting Town Meeting for 32 years.” School Principal Michael Foxall applauded town-school collaboration on “local democracy in action in an age of voter apathy.”

The meeting was originally scheduled to be held on the second floor of the newly renovated Town Hall building. However, this was postponed because of delays in delivery of an elevator to make the space accessible. 

Wolf-Ludwig announced that the grand opening of the Town Hall would be on July 28 this year.