Wilkins defeats Squires in Arlington board race

Select Board member Daniel Harvey addresses residents during Town Meeting at Arlington Memorial High School on Monday night.

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ARLINGTON — Todd Wilkins, a school board chairman and Vermont State Police sergeant, has defeated incumbent Keith Squires in a race for a three-year seat on the Select Board.

Wilkins received 489 votes, while Squires, who served on the board for decades, received 256. There were five write-in votes.

Reached by phone on Tuesday night shortly after results were released, Wilkins said he was both pleased and humbled by the results.

It is "pretty clear that the voters of Arlington are ready for some changes to be made," he said.

Wilkins previously chaired the Arlington Area Renewal Project's governance committee, which advocated for the creation of the town administrator position to oversee the municipality's day-to-day operations. Voters approved the creation of that post at Town Meeting last year, though it remains unfilled.

Voters on Tuesday also approved a total of $178,000 in appropriations for the town's capital reserve fund and $90,154 for various nonprofit organizations. That means the municipality's total budget for 2020, most of which was approved on Monday during the floor meeting portion of Town Meeting at Arlington Memorial High School's Mack Performing Arts Center, will be $1,643,490.

That number marks an increase of $155,438.46 over last year's budget. It will require the municipal tax rate to increase by about 0.05, or $50 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

The budget includes $50,000 to pay the town administrator, a position the board expects to fill by June 1.

Residents on Tuesday also opted to join the Southern Vermont Communication Union District, an entity that will seek to bring broadband connectivity to the region, by a vote of 535 to 166.

State Rep. Cynthia Browning was reelected to the Select Board.

Voters on Tuesday also approved a $7,178,260 budget for the Arlington Town School District's 2020-2021 fiscal year, which represents a 4.32 percent increase in local spending, according to the district's annual report.

"The main drivers in the increase are special education obligations and [health care] increases," the report states.

The district operates Fisher Elementary School and Arlington Memorial Middle and High School.

The budget's projected tax rate is $1.5227, an approximate half-cent decrease from the current tax rate.

Voters authorized the district to put $525,151 in expected surplus funds toward the next school year's budget, reserve funds and future budgets.

Three incumbent school board directors — Jeffrey Tilley, Robert Zink and Matthew Bykowski — won reelection unopposed. Bykowski is also a Select Board member.

Contact Luke Nathan at lnathan@benningtonbanner.com.


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