MERYL BRACONNIER | COMMUNITY NEWS SERVICE | FEBRUARY 27, 2020
Hinesburg voters will convene at 7 p.m. Monday, March 2, in the Champlain Valley Union High School auditorium to vote on the proposed 2021 budget and a plan to create a town-wide ambulance service.
The Select Board’s proposed 2021 fiscal year town budget of $4,195,243 reflects an increase of $231,704 or 5.85% from the $3.96 million spending plan that voters approved last year.
General government operations account for $1.85 million. The next largest category—about 25%—is the highway budget at just over $1 million which includes funds for a new part-time employee and an increase of $5,500 for brush cutting, according to Town Administrator Renae Marshall.
The Police Department’s budget of $606,783 represents 15% of the total; the Fire Department accounts for 10% at $434,503. The proposed budget for Carpenter-Carse Library is $225,487, the same from this year’s budget, according to town officials.
Increases are attributed mainly to higher costs of employee health care coverage, wage increases, and the repairs and maintenance to the Fire Department’s building and vehicles, Marshall said.
Voters will consider these items in Articles 2 through 7 at the evening meeting March 2.
Two articles ask voters to consider contributions to various service organizations. Article 8 is a request for $21,000 for the Hinesburg Community Resource Center, an increase of $8,000 over this year.
Article 9 lists seven proposed appropriations to agencies and organizations including $6,500 for UVM Home Care & Hospice, $4,000 for Age Well, and $1,000 each for the Committee on Temporary Shelter, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, and the Vermont Family Network.
With Articles 10 and 11, voters will decide how to handle ambulance service for Hinesburg now that St. Michael’s Rescue will end its contracted service with the town at the end of June.
Since learning of that important change, town officials have investigated several options. They have considered the costs and responsibilities of operating Hineburg’s own ambulance service and those associated with contracting out this service from neighboring towns with existing rescue services.
“Article 10 includes the total cost of the two combined services that are willing to provide ambulance transport service to Hinesburg,” Marshall explained in an email. “Regardless of which path we ultimately choose, we are likely going to need to contract out for the duration of FY21, so we need to ensure we have the funds available.”
Article 11 at town meeting asks voters if they would like to further pursue the formation of a Hinesburg ambulance service. If approved, it would put that question to a vote by Australian ballot in November.
According to Marshall, Australian ballot is not normally used for public questions but the Select Board wants to include voters in this decision. That led to asking voters at town meeting whether it should be put to a vote later this year.
Article 12 authorizes tax payments for FY21. If all of the financial articles pass, town officials calculated that the tax rate for FY21 would be $0.5579 per $100 of property value. That would work out to $1,115.81 on a home valued at $200,000; $1,673.70 on a home valued at $300,000; and $2,231.60 on a home valued at $400,000.
On Town Meeting Day, March 3, voters will cast paper ballots to elect town and school district officers. Three seats on the Select Board will be decided along with one Champlain Valley School District board seat.
Polls will be open at Town Hall from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Before March 3, voters may cast a ballot early in person at the town clerk’s office.
Town Clerk Melissa Ross said her office is open 8 a.m. to noon on March 2, closing early for staff to prepare for town meeting.
Community News Service is a collaboration with the University of Vermont’s Reporting & Documentary Storytelling program.