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Tunbridge voters face no tough sledding, pass all articles at Town Meeting

  • Tunbridge Town Clerk Mariah Cilley, right, calls for the crowd to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the Tunbridge Town Meeting on Saturday, May 22, 2021. Selectboard members behind her are, from left, Mike McPhetres, Gary Mullen and John O'Brien. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — Jennifer Hauck

  • Liz York was elected moderator for the Tunbridge Town Meeting held at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 22, 2021.(Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

  • Toward the end of the Tunbridge Town Meeting, Henry Swayze looks over the pies with the help of Dawna Neron, a volunteer with the Friends of the Library, who were selling the pies at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds event on Saturday, May 22, 2021. Swayze found an almond cake to his liking. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

  • Tunbridge, Vt., resident Christopher Tuttle asks a question about combating wild chervil during Town Meeting, held at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

  • Matt Loftus, of Tunbridge, Vt., stands next to his son Joseph Loftus, who will be 7 next week, during Town Meeting on Saturday, May 22, 2021, at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds. During the meeting Joseph was fishing close by with his cousin using the bucket of worms he collected at home. The meeting was held on the fairgrounds. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — Jennifer Hauck

  • At their first Town Meeting, Hilary Cunningham and fiance Nick Jasset follow along in the town report during the Tunbridge Town Meeting on Saturday, May 22, 2021. The meeting was held at the fairgrounds in Tunbridge, Vt. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/22/2021 9:54:01 PM
Modified: 5/24/2021 3:30:24 PM

TUNBRIDGE — The pulling arena at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds is usually the site of tough, burdensome slogs over slow terrain.

But town voters had a much easier row to hoe at the arena Saturday, cruising through Town Meeting by passing all nine articles unanimously and without much debate.

The most discussion of the three-hour meeting came during the report by the Trustees of Public Funds, when Tunbridge resident Henry Swayze asked if they would consider divesting town funds from stocks in the carbon industry.

A subsequent nonbinding motion during other business at the end of the meeting to “urge” trustees to divest from fossil fuels passed narrowly, 24-22.

Following the vote, Matt Frost, chairman of the Trustees of Public Funds, said the starting point will be to see what the town’s stock exposure to the extraction industry actually is.

“We owe it to the townspeople to determine the implications of that kind of divestment. Changing investments costs money, beyond the risk of lower returns,” Frost said.

In other action, voters authorized $611,504 in general fund operating expenses and $961,140 for the highway fund. Residents also approved $41,900 for the Tunbridge Volunteer Fire Department.

Liz York was elected to a one-year term as town moderator, succeeding Gordon Barnaby.

Town officer nominations were punctuated by York’s requests that everyone just speak a little louder.

“Of all days to leave your hearing aid at home,” she said, laughing. “I also got a flat tire this morning.”

The Board of Listers noted a 33% increase in home sales last year, for a total of 12, as people from out of state bought property in town amid an influx of regional home sales during the pandemic.

“Remote work has become much more of a possibility, and economics are changing. We expect the rate of change to continue to increase,” said Tunbridge Board of Listers member Dan “Rudi” Ruddell.

Planning Commission Chairwoman Laura Ginsburg walked through recent conversations about legal trail systems in Tunbridge. The Selectboard tapped the Planning Commission to develop a policy recommendation, and the commission has held four listening sessions involving trail users, property owners and experts on trail usage. The Trails Commission will have a report prepared by July 15.

“Trails are a sticky issue,” Ginsburg said. “There’s been a lot of discourse and discord. Everyone’s going to have to give a little.”

Trails aren’t the only sticky issue. Some voters voiced displeasure at the town’s later mowing this season of invasive wild chervil, also called cow parsley.

“Chervil will go to seed after you’ve ripped it out,” Christopher Tuttle said. “I just have to burn the damn stuff.”

The meeting was marked by pride in Tunbridge’s road maintenance.

Selectboard member John O’Brien, who was reelected without opposition, initiated a hearty round of applause for the town’s road crew. “They’re getting a well-deserved raise this year,” he said.

Frances Mize can be reached at fmize@vnews.com.

Correction

Liz York was elected Tunbridge Town  Moderator on Saturday to succeed Gordon Barnaby. An earlier version of this story misidentified her predecessor.




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