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Vershire Will Address  Gun Control, Recycling

Vershire Town Meeting will be held March 5 at 10 a.m. in the Town Center. Voting for elected positions and budgets will occur during ballot voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Town Center.

Vershire — A proposed expansion of recycling center hours, a request for a new truck and a controversial article advocating for gun control highlight the Town Meeting warning this year in Vershire.

Both the general fund and highway budgets are relatively flat.

The proposed general fund budget of $253,000 is up about $30,000 from the budget voters approved last year.

In part, the budget is growing to fund more recycling hours at the Vershire Transfer Station, located at the Vershire Fire and Rescue station. In recent years, recycling has been available every other Saturday. But the budget includes enough money to have the facility opened every Saturday, Town Clerk Gene Craft said.

The highway budget is down from $396,000 to $370,000, but in reality, proposed spending for the town’s roads is remaining flat: Voters will be asked, in a separate article, to establish a reserve fund for paving projects, and to make an initial deposit of $35,000 into the account.

The only other major spending proposal is to purchased a new 10-wheeler highway truck, for no more than $165,000. The town is proposing trading in its 2005 truck and taking $40,000 from a reserve fund as down payment. Craft said that, while numbers have not been finalized, the town would be responsible for a loan that would likely cost around $25,000 a year.

But, as they are proposing to take on debt, town officials have a plan to pay off some of their existing obligations.

Town officials have proposed using $48,000 from 2012 budget surplus to pay off loans used to purchase a tractor and backhoe in previous years.

The current tax rate of 68 cents per $100 of assessed value is likely to rise to around 70 cents if all spending articles are approved, Craft said. That would give the owner of a $250,000 home a roughly $1,750 tax bill, $50 more than this year.

Selectboard member Vernal Stone, who did not respond to messages seeking comment, is unopposed for a new three year term on the board. He may be a returning to a slightly more lucrative job: Selectboard members have proposed giving themselves a raise, from $750 to $1,000.

In other business, Town Meeting voters will also be asked whether to ask state and federal lawmakers to ban assault weapons and high capacity ammunition and require criminal background checks for every gun sold in the U.S. The petitioned article is appearing on a number of Town Meeting warnings around Vermont.

Vershire is part of the Rivendell Interstate School District, which holds its annual meeting on March 27.

Mark Davis can be reached at mcdavis@vnews.com or 603-727-3304.