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Town Meeting preview: Fairlee to decide on 8% cut to budget, added police costs

Published: 2/12/2021 9:56:08 PM
Modified: 2/12/2021 10:06:36 PM

Hot topic: Fairlee is skipping its traditional floor vote at Town Meeting this year in favor of an Australian ballot due to worries over spreading the coronavirus. Town Administrator Tad Nunez said town officials have been working to share information about the meeting by mailing out newsletters and sending out the town report.

Budget: Voters will be asked to approve a $1.15 million operating budget this year. The budget is roughly $111,000, or about 8%, lower than the previous year’s $1.26 million operating budget. The decrease can be attributed to a focus on tightening the budget across the board, rather than on specific cuts, Nunez said. He said officials hoped to keep the budget low partly because they anticipated asking voters to spend more on police coverage in a separate article at Town Meeting.

Noteworthy articles: This year, voters will be asked to approve nearly $31,000 for additional police coverage by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The idea has been in the works for years, because the current police officer on duty works part time for 10 hours a week, Nunez said. Passing the article would add 20 hours of police coverage by sheriff’s deputies each week, which Nunez said is needed as more people move to the Fairlee area.

Contested races: There are no contested races this year.

When and where: The Selectboard is having an informational meeting about articles on the warning on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. Residents can vote by Australian ballot from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 2 at the Fairlee Town Hall on 75 Town Common Road.

— Anna Merriman

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