Citizens' petitions on ballot

SHAFTSBURY — Only two articles petitioned by citizens will appear on the ballot in March, one year after several went before voters.

The two articles are a non-binding resolution to support adopting policies related to supporting renewable energy, and a request that the Taconic Community Grange be exempted from property taxes for five years.

Residents last year voted on whether or not to approve the town bonding no more than $1,100,000 to fund the construction of a new town garage, several changes to the town's zoning bylaws, the addition of interest to late water bills after a certain amount of time, and a change in how the town clerk is paid.

Also appearing on the ballot this year will be several races. Ed Corey will challenge incumbent Select Board Chairman Tim Scoggins for his three-year seat. Last year, Corey ran against Joe Barber for the seat vacated by Mitch Race. Barber won that race 449 to 269. Vice-Chairman Art Whitman will run unopposed for re-election to a two-year seat.

Former Shaftsbury School Board member Holly Snow Bahan will run in two races, challenging incumbent Town Clerk Marlene Barriere Hall and incumbent treasurer Melanie Dexter. Barriere won a four-way race last year to replace Judy Stratton, who retired after 35 years as Shaftsbury's town clerk. Barriere received 402 votes, while Bahan received 285, Kelly Maitland 102, and Michelle Stacy 89.

Dexter was elected treasurer in 2015, and is currently concluding her first term in that office.

Current Chairman Ed Molloy and newcomer Tony D'Onofrio are running unopposed for seats on the Shaftsbury School Board.

Voters will also be asked to approve $75,660 in community appropriations requests. The largest of those come from the John G. McCullough Free Library ($20,000), the Bennington Free Library ($17,250), and the Arlington Rescue Squad ($7,000).

Resident Lynn Sternberg came before the select board in December, asking them to support her energy resolution, which is based on a model created by 350Vermont's "(Re)Generate New Solutions Campaign. That resolution, which will appear on the March ballot, reads "(Re)Generate New Solutions Campaign," expresses support for the state's goal of having 90 percent of its generated energy come from renewable sources by 2050. It reads, "Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Town will do our part to meet these demands by committing to efforts such as: Protecting town lands from fossil fuel infrastructure, denying easements or agreements for any pipelines crossing town lands; Weatherizing town buildings and schools; Enlisting state support to install roof-top solar on town and school buildings; Or other initiatives to improve residents' quality of life while helping us reduce overall energy use."

The board expressed reservations about some of the items in the 350Vermont resolution, and instead voted 4-1 to adopt the language, "The Town of Shaftsbury supports the transition of the U.S. economy from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar. We welcome the siting of renewable energy infrastructure in our town, as allowed by the town plan and as dictated by the free market. We do not seek to restrict renewable energy infrastructure any further than what is allowed for other types of building and industry."

Sternberg said that the board's motion was a step in the right direction, but that voters should have the opportunity to see and vote on the resolution she presented.

Polls will be open Tuesday, March 6 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Shaftsbury Fire Station.

Derek Carson can be reached at, at @DerekCarsonBB on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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