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Vershire Tax Payment Schedule Debated

Vershire — Town general fund, highway and fire budgets that held the line on spending from last year passed easily on Tuesday and Selectboard Chairman Marc McKee fended off challenger Timothy Ward to win re-election to his seat.

The $262,203 general fund budget is up nearly $9,400 from 2013, a 3.7 percent increase, and passed 115-17.

The $363,745 highway budget, about $6,000 less than the year before, was approved 107-25. Voters also approved a level-funded Vershire fire and rescue request for $33,728 by a 110-22 vote.

Officials do not expect the budgets to have much of an effect on the current tax rate of 76 cents per $100 of valuation, which translates to $1,900 on a home assessed at $250,000.

In the only contested race on the ballot, McKee won re-election for a three-year term on the Selectboard, 99-30.

At Town Meeting earlier Tuesday morning, voters adopted all articles on the warning after getting off to something of a slow start. The crowd of 46 residents spent the first half-hour raising concerns with state Reps. Philip Winters and Susan Davis over rising education taxes and Vermont’s move toward a single-payer health care system. Then a lengthy debate ensued over whether to move up the date when tax payments should be due. Some argued that it would be better for town finances to have the money sooner, but Lister Debra Kingsbury said the system would not be able to accommodate the change.

“I don’t think our system can do what we’re trying to orchestrate,” she said.

The article was amended slightly to say taxes were due the “first Thursday” of September and December, rather than the 10th of each month, but resulted in no significant change. It passed by voice vote with a few objections and, after more than an hour, the meeting had finished only three articles.

Then there was a surprise contest for one of three Planning Commission seats that came available. After Chairman Bill Baylis won re-election to his four-year seat in an uncontested race, Helen Lons and John Soboleski competed for a second four-year spot. Lons won in a ballot vote, 31-15. Immediately afterward, Soboleski faced no challengers in his bid for the third seat with a one-year term.

Business sped along after that and voters approved all remaining articles and ended shortly after noon. Other articles included appropriating $20,000 to the highway garage fund, $15,000 to the capital paving fund, $20,000 to the capital equipment fund and transferring $30,000 of highway fund surplus money to the capital equipment fund. More than $7,000 also was approved for social service agencies.

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