BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Approximately 60 voters of the Village of Bellow Falls passed the major budget article at a May 15 Bellows Falls Corporation Annual Meeting at the Bellows Falls Opera House. The Village of Bellows Falls currently has 1,852 registered voters. The vote for the budget was conducted by a standing count and narrowly passed by a 30 to 26 margin. The budget amount affirmed was $1,998.070 with $1,941,290 to be raised by taxes. The vote result takes effect beginning July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017 will result in a 6 cent tax increase to villagers. A second budget article to replenish the unrestricted fund balance, which would have raised taxes by 2 additional cents for the general fund, was defeated, again by a standing vote by a 43-6 margin. Interim Municipal Manager Shane O’Keefe explained that the unrestricted balance request was partially due to the village’s obligation to make payment to TransCanada.
A major point of contention voiced by some voters at the meeting was the budget of the police department, particularly the overtime amount accrued and the hiring of a tenth police officer. A tenth police officer for the Bellows Falls Police Department is an effort to have two officers on duty at all times and to increase the safety in the village.
Police Chief Ron Lake stated, “I have been here nine years, if I could stop the crime in the village I would; just last Friday we took 200 hits of heroin off the streets.” Lake continued, “If we ignore the drug issue it’ll really break loose.”
The meeting featured appreciation awards to retiring trustee member Evelyn Weeks and Town Attorney Ray Massucco for their service to the town.