BENNINGTON >> High voter turnout across Bennington County slowed down counting and made several races difficult to call Tuesday night.
According to Bennington town clerk Cassandra Barbeau, incumbent Ed Letourneau defeated challenger Sue Plaisance for one of Bennington's spots on the Mount Anthony Union board, 2,319-2,087. Despite a write-in campaign from Nancy Burns, Leon Johnson re-took his North Bennington seat on that board, with 3,663 votes. MAU chairman Tim Holbrook was running for re-election unopposed for a seat representing Pownal on the MAU board, and had 3,897 votes. The MAU budget was also approved, 3,387-1,660.
The Bennington School District re-elected board members Jackie Prue and Jackie Kelly to their two seats. They both ran unopposed. Their budget also passed 1943-1101. A request for a bond to pay for $4.5 million in energy improvements in the district's three schools also passed, 2043-977. "Supporting Article C will have no impact on your November 2016 tax bill," said the board in a written statement, "Starting in 2017, the net cost of these upgrades will add $12.61 in taxes on a $100,000 assessed home and will decrease annually over the life of the bond. The district and taxpayers will continue to realize energy savings long after the bond has been paid."
"Some of the current equipment is more than forty years old and ultimately will need replacing. Not supporting Article C will require the district to upgrade equipment over a long period of time, risking emergency spending and forgoing immediate energy savings, which will cause unpredictable, tax rate spikes. Supporting Article C allows the district to proactively replace this equipment over the summer with a predictable impact on future tax rates," they added.
There were five people running for four seats on the Southwest Vermont Career Development Center board, and as of deadline the race was too close to call with several towns yet to report in. With Arlington, Bennington, and Dorset reporting, Art Haytko had 1,965, incumbent Leon Johnson had 2,474, incumbent Fran Kinney had 2,238, James Salerno had 1,814, and Ken Swierad, who serves as the chairman of the Bennington and SVSU boards, had 1,990. The center's budget appeared to be on pace to pass, as it stood at 3,301-1,195 in favor.
The Shaftsbury School Board also had two races, with Selectboard Chairman Tim Scoggins running against incumbent Jeffrey Leake, who was elected to the board last year, for a three-year seat, and incumbent Larry Johnson attempting to hold off three challengers for his two-year seat: Jared Della Rocca, Ed Molloy, and Todd Ordway.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.