Get Ready for Town Meeting: How to Vote, Previews of Key Ballot Items, Where to Hear Results

Montpelier City Meeting: Where? When? How?

When: Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Town Meeting Day, Tuesday, March 5.

Where: City hall, 39 Main Street, Montpelier.

Need assistance? Citizens who require the assistance of mobility devices (wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, crutches, canes) will be able to vote in the community room of the police department, directly opposite the accessible entrance to city hall. Poll workers will be stationed at the door to assist. The vote-by-phone system for visually impaired voters will remain at its usual location in the city hall auditorium.

Early voting: Early voting is now underway. Come by the city clerk’s office Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., to vote early, or call for an absentee ballot at 223-9500.

What’s on the ballot? Contents of the ballot can be viewed online at montpelier-vt.org/page/586/2013cityballot.html. 

Ballot Measure to Restore Funding for Defunded Firefighter Position

The Case for a Yes Vote 

The budget cut affects the health and safety of city residents as well as firefighters. The Matrix Survey on citizen support for city services showed that maintaining fire services is a far higher priority than civic projects, yet this year’s budget cut fire services and kept nonessential civic projects.

—Lt. Jake Larrabee, president of the firefighters union

The Case for a No Vote 

The budget reductions were made in city departments because that is where the bulk of our spending occurs. The council did not believe that the budget reductions will jeopardize essential public services. Funding for entities such as Montpelier Alive constitute only a small portion of the city’s budget, and the council believes that the programs they offer are important to the quality of life in Montpelier.

—John Hollar, Montpelier Mayor

Ballot Measure to Increase Funding to the Kellogg-Hubbard Library Beyond the Council-Recommended Level

The Case for a Yes Vote 

For the last four years, Kellogg-Hubbard Library funding from its towns has been level-funded. The other five towns have had their budget request rise this year—from $786 in Worcester to $14,068 in Berlin to better reflect their towns’ use of the library. Montpelier is being asked for an increase of 1.5 percent for each of the years that the budget was level-funded, which is less than inflation for each of those years. While the library was level-funded, other parts of the city saw their budget grow to reflect the impact of inflation during these years.

—Richard Bidnick, Kellogg-Hubbard Library director

The Case for a No Vote 

The city did not increase funding for other nonprofits, so it did not seem fair to increase funding for the library. Moreover, the city spends far more for the library than it does for all other nonprofit entities combined. It seemed reasonable for the library to seek additional funding from other communities.

—John Hollar, Montpelier mayor

The Montpelier Circulator Bus by the Numbers

Total riders in one year: 12,583

Total routes: 20

Total routes with an average of 10 or more riders per run: 6 (30%)

Total routes with an average of five or fewer riders per run: 9 (45%)

Average subsidy per rider: $9.50 (Less than the state average)

Average number of Saturday riders per run: 2

Average subsidy per Saturday rider: $38.50 (More than three times the state average)

Percent using free circulator to get to and from National Life: 20%

Tune In for Live Results

The Bridge will be sponsoring live same-day Town Meeting Day returns on ORCA Channel 17 for Montpelier and neighboring towns. Coverage begins at 9 p.m. For those without cable access, the presentation will be streamed on ORCA’s website.

Montpelier mayor John Hollar will be present to offer election analysis on all issues. Montpelier School District superintendent Brian Ricca will address the results from the three Montpelier school votes. Kellogg-Hubbard Library director Richard Bidnick will speak of the Kellogg-Hubbard vote in its six communities. The head of the Montpelier firefighters union will speak about the firefighter funding issue vote. Keith Vance, local political blogger from the website voiceofmontpelier.com, will offer political analysis as well.

 

 

—compiled by Richard Sheir and Max Shenk