Town meeting this year will be a town meeting like no other. Instead of crowding into the High School auditorium, this year voters will join town officials on a ZOOM call.
And voice votes will move to an Australian ballot, allowing voters to vote in the mail, protecting health and local decision-making.
“It is going to be a busy ballot” Selectboard chair Phil Pouech said, since the ballot will contain warned town items plus the regular election official ballot items. Town residents should expect a mailer soon to explain all, Pouech said. New state laws are allowing this one-time change in town meeting, Karen Horn, the director of public policy at the Vermont League of Cities and Towns said. Towns are allowed to either make the case that they can hold town meeting safely in person, postpone the meeting into the spring or conduct business via Australian Ballot, Horn said.
Hinesburg is choosing to vote by ballot and keep the date the same. Voters can request an absentee ballot, which is preferred Pouech said, or they can pick up their ballot and vote on Town Meeting Day, March 2. Ballots will be available Feb 12 and must be turned in by 7:00 p..m. March 2.
On Wed, Jan 20 at 7:00 the town is hosting a public meeting to take the last comments and make adjustments before posting the final budget and town warning, Pouech said. State law requires towns hosting meetings on March 2 to post the town warning by March 21. The town report will be shipped to voters in early February, Pouech said. While there will be no voting, town meeting will still take place, via ZOOM, starting at 7:00, Monday evening March 1. Town officials invite questions about the ballot items and any town business, Pouech said.
Residents can submit questions in advance to the Town Administrator; email@example.com, according to a press release from the town. On the ballot are regular town items, such as the town budget, the highway budget, the police budget, the library budget and funding for social service organizations. Town officials up for re-election include three Selectboard seats; a 3-year term currently occupied by Phil Pouech; a 2-year term currently held by Jeff French; and one year remaining of a 2-year term currently occupied by Maggie Gordon. Additionally, there are 3 seats on the Carpenter-Carse Library board; one Cemetery Trustee, as well as 1 year remaining of a 3-year term on the Champlain Valley School Board as one of Hinesburg’s 2 representatives to that body.
Candidates wishing to run for local office in March may do so by filing a Consent of Candidate form which is available on the town website at www.hinesburg.org, according to the town’s website. Candidates are urged to contact town clerk Melissa Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org or 482-2281 x1 with any questions regarding running for local office. More information about the contact less town meeting and how the town is managing voting can be found on the town’s website www.hinesburgvtinfo.com/