Manchester voters asked to approve $972,000 bond

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MANCHESTER — Voters in Manchester are being asked to write a check for $972,000 for a bond to make improvements in several areas of town.

The bond would be used for an assortment of projects with the largest ticket items being improvements to the public safety facility where the police, fire and ambulance crews are based; as well as work at Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park, sidewalk improvements in town, and a new fire rescue truck for the fire department.

The fire rescue truck comes in at $155,000 from the bond, which will be coupled with $155,000 from the Equipment Reserve Fund.

At the Rec Park, the big-ticket item is a $350,000 item for a new maintenance building.

The new building will replace the current building that is approximately 100 years old, has a dirt floor and requires that several expensive pieces of equipment be stored outside in the winter.

Other work at the Rec Park includes expanding the parking lot near the dog park and McClellan Field, some improvements to Applejack Stadium Grandstand, and sidewalk improvements.

There will also be some sidewalk work around Manchester including 290 feet of sidewalk replacement on Bonnet Street from School Street to Two Cow Lane as well as 60 feet of sidewalk on Main Street.

Improvements to the public safety building include paving part of the circular drive and parking areas around the building, improving lighting, laying a concrete apron at the fire department, improvements to the police department entrance for safety and security improvements, and a secured fenced-in area for impounding vehicles.

The bond will be annualized over 20 years, not counting the fire truck, which will be bonded over 10 years.

In addition to the bond vote, Manchester voters will be asked to consider a $243,740 appropriation for the Manchester Community Library. That is exactly what was requested — and approved — by voters in 2019.

The library board and Executive Director J. Violet Gannon have said that while the library's budget is going up, the library will rely more on donors and fundraising to cover the increased cost.

Voters will also be asked to $10,000 for VNA&Hospice of the Southwest Region and $4,000 for Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging.

All of those ballot items will be decided on Tuesday by written ballot. Voting will take place at the Manchester Town Offices from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voters will also be asked to approve appropriations totaling $17,481 from the floor during the town floor meeting, held at Manchester Elementary Middle School beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 29.

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The biggest discussion will be the discussion and consideration of the town's budget for the fiscal year 2021.

The Manchester Select Board has a budget prepared for voter consideration of $5,343,326 to defray the operating expenses of the town plus voted appropriations.

Voters will also be asked to approve $1,645,900 to defray the capital expenses of the town less anticipated capital-related nonproperty tax revenue.

The result is an increase of $109,387, an increase of 3.5 percent in property tax spending. However, if anticipated growth in the grand list of 0.5 to 1 percent comes in, the percentage increase will be closer to 3.1 percent.

One other item voters will have to approve is a proposed $50,000 from the Taxpayer Relief Reserve Fund to the Manchester Business Association for the marketing of the town and village in Fiscal Year 2021. This item was debated last year and promises to again draw plenty of supporters and detractors at the mic to share their opinions.

There are no contested races this year on the ballot.

Incumbent selectmen Greg Cutler and Ivan Beattie, the board chairman, are running for re-election unopposed.

Also running unopposed for re-election are Marie Ferrarin, the incumbent Trustee of Public Funds, and moderator Michael Nawrath.

Beattie was first elected to office in Manchester in 1984 and has served on the Manchester Select Board for more than 30 years. Beattie owns East of Equinox Farm where he raises Equinox

Morgan horses.

Cutler has served on the Select Board since 2016. Cutler is a realtor, professional voice actor, and musician.

Beattie's seat is a three-year term and Cutler is running for another two-year term.

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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