Plymouth Votes Yes on Budget This Year

From Jen Flaster, Plymouth Press Editor

Voters approved the town budget on the first vote at Town Meeting on Monday night, following an enlightening presentation by selectboard member Russ Tonkin. Tonkin walked those present through the year-to-year budget changes and major budget areas, giving a welcome explanation on the town’s financial position.

One amendment to the budget was adopted before the budget passed easily. Those present agreed to reduce the budget by the $65,000 slated for the Windsor County Sheriff patrols. Residents raised issues with the town’s need for the patrols. Some cited incidents in which the sheriffs did not provide assistance to residents when asked, while on patrol in Plymouth. The Winsdor County Sheriff’s Office does not typically provide assistance in Plymouth, unless an officer is on duty in town. Others just didn’t feel their presence helped the town or its residents and that we might be better served by electronic speed limit signs placed strategically. The income generated from their presence varies from year to year, but in the last year, their patrols generated roughly $11,000.

The other articles on the agenda all passed. These included allocating $10,032.50 for Human Services and $10,000 to retain a qualified person to promote and coordinate community activities at the Plymouth Elementary school property. The latter article passed by just one vote.

Voters also eliminated the office of auditor. Past auditors spoke up on behalf of the article to say that the town finances have become more complex and the budget so large, that we would be better off with a professional auditor. The town will now contract with a public accountant in accordance with the Vermont State Statute 17 VSA 2651b.

Elections were held by Australian ballot on Tuesday. Most positions were not contested, however a few positions had no candidates, so write-ins were offered. The results for the elections were:

Moderator: Thomas W. Harris
Selectperson: Ralph J. Michael
Lister: Tom Marrone
Auditor: (no candidate running) Office eliminated by voters
Trustee of Public Funds: Bobbi Jean Lambert-Lynds (by write-in)
School District Clerk: Barbara L. Rabtoy
School Director: Jim Reiger
Del. Tax Collector: Kathleen Billings
Grand Juror: Joseph Rebideau
Town Agent: Joseph Rebideau
Cemetery Commissioner: (no candidate running) No write-in candidate received 1% of the vote, the state threshold for write-ins.
School Director: (no candidate running) No write-in candidate received 1% of the vote, the state threshold for write-ins.
School Moderator: Thomas W. Harris

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2 Responses to Plymouth Votes Yes on Budget This Year

  1. Terry says:

    In the interest of accuracy, I want to make 2 corrections to the above report on the vote to cancel Plymouth’s contract with the Sheriff’s Department:

    1) The information presented at the meeting was that the patrols have generated in the range of $1000-2000 in each of the last few years, not $11,000. I suspect the proposal to do away with the Sheriff was justified in many minds by the revelation that the town realized so little financial return. (If that was erroneous information, the record should be corrected.)

    2) The other rationale had to do with doubts about what the town is getting from the arrangement. In that regard, an incident was related in which it first appeared that the Sheriff’s Department had declined to respond while on duty in Plymouth, but by the end of the discussion, the person relating the case clearly indicated that she reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Department by telephone because the Sheriff was not on duty in Plymouth at the time, and the Department referred her to the State police because they were not contracted to respond to incidents outside of their patrol hours in the town.

    Relatedly, though it was suggested that we could use electronic speed limit signs in place of a live patrol, we did not take up the question of purchasing such signs because, apparently, it is okay to remove items from the town meeting agenda, but not okay to add items to the agenda if those additions include financial expenditures. So, effective July, it seems we will have neither active nor passive speed control mechanisms in place within Plymouth. Personally, I don’t think that’s going to have a desirable outcome.

  2. Thanks for the clarification. From where I was sitting, I heard $11,000, but couldn’t find any income information in the town report to verify that number.

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