Arlington voters approve $1.4M budget at meeting
ARLINGTON — Town meeting voters here on Monday approved the Town of Arlington's proposed $1.43 million municipal budget, an increase of about 5 percent over fiscal 2018.
The motion to raise $1,164,823 — the budget minus revenues and cash on hand — passed by unanimous voice vote.
Voters today will be deciding on nine capital reserve items, the largest of which are $50,000 for fire truck replacement and repair, and $40,000 for highway truck repairs.
In addition, 21 separate voter appropriations are to be decided, among them $32,500 for the rescue squad.
Before the municipal town meeting, the Battenkill Valley Regional School District reviewed the district's progress in the past year and its proposed $6.95 million budget for fiscal 2019 at its annual meeting on Monday night.
The school budget would result in a proposed homestead school tax rate of $1.6239 per $100 of assessed value, an increase from $1.5242 per $100 last year.
Voters will decide on the budget by Australian ballot today between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Arlington Memorial High School.
Board chair Nicol Whalen said the board was grateful to the administration for presenting a budget with 1.57 percent increase in local spending. "There are probably things on wish list but we have not had to cut programs or scale back on any of our offerings for students," she said.
Challenges ahead for the district include a sharp increase in the population of children under the age of 9, increasing poverty among those young students, and the need to increase the number of students attending the town's two schools.
The district is adding a third pre-kindergarten teacher, Whalen said, and Fisher Elementary School has instituted a "breakfast after the bell" program to make sure young students aren't going hungry.
As for enrollment, Whalen and BVSU superintendent Bill Bazyk said the district had two choices — building enrollment or cutting programs and enrollment.
"We need to do a much better job" recruiting school choice students, Bazyk said. "We're working with a large group of people we haven't come to a conclusion on how we're going to do that."
The school board meeting began with a remembrance and moment of silence for former Arlington Memorial High School coach John Werner, who died on Saturday after a long fight with cancer.
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