Thursday October 25, 2012

BENNINGTON -- The Select Board has approved a new policy to deal with private, nonprofit agencies that seek town funding.

Those agencies can appear on the town ballot every March seeking funds if they gather signatures -- 5 percent of the registered voters are required -- on a petition. The town in the past has allowed agencies to stay on the ballot in subsequent years without gathering signatures if the funding request remains the same.

Taxpayers provided about $100,000 for various agencies this year. But some requests -- namely a $25,000 annual request for Bennington Coalition for the Homeless -- had been an issue for some board members. The board on Monday altered its policy to address the issue.

Now, groups seeking $7,500 or less will only need to provide signatures every three years to remain on the ballot, if they provide the town with information on how the money is being spent, and who is benefiting. Any requests over $7,500 will need to gather signatures every year to appear on the ballot.

The new policy was unanimously approved by the Select Board on Monday.

Town Manager Stuart A. Hurd said the board can allow one-time requests from groups to appear on the ballot without signatures, too.

-- Neal Goswami


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