VOTING RESULTS: All articles were passed.
Elected Town Officials:
Moderator – Tom Harris – 83
Selectboard – Rick Kaminski – 75
Trustee of Public Funds – Bonnie-Jean Lambert – 84
Lister – Naomi Moyer – 81
Cemetery Commissioner – Mike Pierson – 79
First Constable – Richard Olmstead – 81
Second Constable – Josh Linton – 74
ARTICLE 2: To see if the Town will vote $12,205 for Human Services, allocated per the town warning.
Yes – 83
No – 1
ARTICLE 3: To see if the Town will vote to raise $ 1,250,233 in taxes to pay estimated expenses in the amount of $1,683,583.
Yes – 80
No – 5
ARTICLE 4: To see if the legal voters of the Town will authorize the Plymouth Selectboard to establish a general reserve fund
Yes – 79
No – 5
ARTICLE 5: To see if the legal voters of the Town will authorize the Plymouth Selectboard to establish a Bridge and Highway reserve fund.
Yes – 78
No – 5
PLYMOUTH, Vt. – At the informational meeting on Monday, Feb. 28, Town Moderator Thomas Harris discussed the articles up for vote by Australian ballot. Board chair Jay Kullman and selectmen Keith Cappellini and Rick Kaminski were in attendance to field questions from town voters during the brief meeting.
This was the first year that the town budget, set to raise $1,250,233 in taxes to pay estimated town expenses, generated no questions or comments from town citizens.
Referring to Article 4, allowing the town to establish a general reserve fund, resident Jim requested some explanation of what it is for and where it is coming from. “This is trying to get in compliance with our audit, and be legal about how we handle reserve funds,” Kullman explained. “Last year we found ourselves, fortunately, in the position of having $1.2 million,” in what seemed to be a surplus from the town budget. “Not exactly legal, is my understanding, according to the auditors,” Kullman said.
He proceeded to explain that last year, the town voted to allow the board to set those balances, and “to legally carry between 15-20% of the town’s annual budget just to maintain cash flow.” There is always a need for funds for town projects, so in creating this reserve fund, “we’re going to set a threshold that can change over time, as it needs change. But that’s our goal, is to do this legally and in compliance.”
Another resident requested more information about the highway fund in Article 5, and asked if the budget was similar to the previous years. Kullman responded that the town’s highway fund is currently generating about $130,000 a year. After some capital planning, the town determined they don’t necessarily need that much money in equipment reserve, “but the highway foremen and road commissioner advised us that there are some upcoming bridge projects,” Kullman explained. “So rather than being surprised by those [expenses], or have taxes go up and down every year,” the town would like to start capital planning in advance for those types of projects and repairs.
Resident Steve discussed Article 6, and the timing for when taxes were due, specifically, if a check is being mailed, to go by the post date on the envelope. He stated that if you are mailing the tax payment in a timely manor but it’s not received on time, then the delay is really the fault of post offices and taxpayers should not be penalized. Moderator Harris said that should be brought up at a regular Selectboard meeting, and would have to be voted on. It was further expressed that this amendment could be done at the general election in November, which was noted by Selectboard members.
Another resident was concerned that “there are over 100 people” who have not paid their delinquent taxes, and asked how the town was planning to resolve the issue. Kaminski explained that the town appointed a delinquent tax collector, Sandie Small. “We’ve [also] hired on an assistant to help her with delinquent tax work, and we’ve hired an attorney. We’ve been communicating with that attorney just as recently as this past week, and they tell me we will have a tax sale in April.”
Kaminski also said that, because of the steps that the town has taken, they’ve already had some residents come forward and pay their delinquent taxes because “they know we’re getting serious about it, and once they see those tax sales go into the paper, you’re going to see a lot more people coming forward and settle up their delinquent tax claims.”
The informational meeting was adjourned at 7:28 p.m. Voting by Australian ballot will take place Tuesday, March 1 at the Plymouth Municipal Building, from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. The results will be printed in next week’s paper, and posted with this article as soon as we receive them.