MANCHESTER — Manchester voters approved everything including the budget, rail trail, a fire truck and the library funding.
Without a floor vote and everything being handled with Australian ballot, the Town Meeting Day produced one of the largest vote tallies in recent memory with close to 1,200 votes cast.
And voters were in a generous mood, approving all funding requests including the $5,979,211 budget, by a vote of 937 to 205.
The funding plan calls for a 3.75 percent increase despite cutting spending by $1.01 million dollars as revenues also decreased by $1.13 million.
The Manchester Select Board cut nearly every budget in town except for the fire department’s budget.
The spending plan will result in a municipal tax bill for the average $275,000 house in town of $771.38, which is an increase from last year’s municipal tax bill of $743.33. The municipal tax accounts for about 15 percent of the total tax bill with the remainder of the bill coming from school taxes.
Voters overwhelmingly approved the purchase of a fire truck by the second most votes of any item on the ballot.
Only the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region received more votes as 1,088 votes supported the $10,000 appropriations request.
Article 3 asked for approval to allow the Select Board to enter into an agreement for a lease/purchase of the truck from the Fire Department Equipment Reserve Fund not to exceed $400,000.
Voters gave that approval 1,062 to 115.
The town also got guidance on the long-debated and planned “rail trail.”
By a vote of 825-345, voters told the town they wanted to see the proposed trail to be pursued.
The article called for the town to enter into an agreement with the owners of Old Railroad Bed, LLC, to purchase the parcel and improvements at a later date contingent upon obtaining funding, permitting easements.
The trail has been enormously popular, but some have argued that the trail is too costly during a time of financial hardship due to COVID-19 that has affected businesses and tax revenue.
Improvements to the water infrastructure were approved as voters supported a $1.1 million bond, which should be reduced by a $275,000 grant.
The Manchester Community Library’s $243,740 funding request was approved by one of the tightest margins, 757-418
Voters also supported $50,000 for the Manchester Business Association.
Jan Nolan, who was unopposed, picked up 902 votes for another two-year term and Heidi Chamberlain, who was appointed during the fall to replace vice-chair Wayne Bell who stepped down, was elected to her own three-year term with 940 votes.
Town clerk Anita Sheldon earned 1,048 votes in her unopposed run for re-election.
Arlington voters have rejected the idea of eliminating the elected town treasurer position in place of a Select Board appointed treasurer.
The measure drew many questions during Monday’s information session and it looks like voters were not convinced they Select Board should oversee the treasurer’s duties.
Voters narrowly rejected the proposal, 223-211.
Arlington voters approved the town budget and all financial questions.
Select Board chair Daniel Harvey was re-elected with 342 votes in an unopposed bid to return and Glenn Sherman Jr. ran unopposed to fill the seat being vacated by Tim Williams who chose not to run again.
Pawlet voters have spoken loud and clear who they want to represent them on the Select Board.
In the contested race for two one-year seats on the board featuring five candidates, John Malcolm and Jessica Van Oort took the two top spots. The three-year seat was won by Richard Hulett by a huge margin.
For the one-year seat, Malcolm got 379 votes and Van Oort received 243 votes. Estella Leach received 133 votes, Martin Kravitt got 69 votes and Daniel Banyai got 18 votes.
In the three-year seat race, Hulett got 323 votes, followed by Maureen Brown with 104 votes, Leach with 34, Kravitt with 18 and Banyai with 4 votes.