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Woodstock Voters Reject Solar Exemption

Woodstock — Voters rejected a bid to exempt solar power installations from local property taxes during Australian ballot voting on Tuesday.

Residents voted against the proposal 272-252, but passed all other articles on the warning, which ranged from tax exemptions for local groups to funding appropriations for various nonprofits.

The tax-exempt status for solar power projects would have applied to any individual, business or community infrastructure and would have been effective for 10 years.

“Giving a tax break to people with enough money to build a solar installation didn’t sit well,” Town Clerk Jay Morgan suggested as one possibility for why the article failed.

Voters supported allocating money above and beyond two organizations’ regular budgets, including an additional $50,000 for the Norman Williams Public Library and $32,000 for Pentangle Council on the Arts.

The extra money for Pentangle will help keep movies affordable and allow the directors to hold events in the community.

Residents approved $30,000 for the Woodstock Area Council on Aging to run the Edwin J. Thompson Senior Center, $500 to Green Mountain RSVP and the Volunteer Center of Windsor County, $2,400 for Stagecoach Transportation Services, $7,500 for the Woodstock Historical Society, and $2,000 for WISE.

Voters also approved appropriations for Windsor County Partners, a youth mentoring service, the Spectrum Teen Center, the Ottauquechee Community Partnership, and Health Care and Rehabilitation Services Inc.

Voters overwhelmingly extended the tax-exempt status of six organizations: the South Woodstock Fire Protection Association, the Woodstock Masonic Association, the Ottauquechee Health Center, the Prosper Community House, the Merten’s House and The Homestead.

There were no contested races on the ballot. Paige Hiller was re-elected to the elementary school board. Victoria Jas ran unopposed for the union school board. A second union school board seat remained vacant; no candidate stepped forward.

Morgan said 546 residents turned out to vote.

“It is pretty low, not terribly low, but moderately low,” he said.

Results on the $11.7 million Woodstock Union High School District budget were not available Tuesday night. The budget includes a 3.5 percent increase in total spending.

Voters approved the town and elementary school budgets on Saturday.

Windsor Central Supervisory Union Executive Assistant Mandy Smith said earlier in the week that officials won’t be convening to tally the results of the $800,000 bond issue for the union high school until this morning.

The bond included $300,000 to acquire real estate for a second exit from the Woodstock Union High School property, $150,000 to replace the supervisory union building’s roof, $200,000 to renovate the high school’s windows and $150,000 to replace one of two boilers at the school.

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