ANDOVER, Vt. – Andover Town Moderator John Bliss opened the Town Meeting on March 7, 2023, with a moment of silence for friends and family who passed over the last year.
Bliss was re-elected as town moderator for the ensuing year. Jeanette Haight was re-elected as town treasurer and town clerk.
There were two nominations for the open three year seat on the selectboard, Melissa Gates-Perry was nominated for re-election, Gene Pategas was also nominated for the position. “…I think I’d just like to help out the town to move towards the future…,” said Pategas. “…any big decisions need to be made by the citizens, need to be voted on, rather than the selectboard… I work for you…” said Gates-Perry on her experiences in the selectboard. While paper ballots were being handed out Executive Director of Neighborhood Connections Nicole Wengerd spoke on the organizations request for $1,500 from the town, thanking them for past contributions. Gates-Perry won the election 37-25.
Susan Leader was nominated for the one year remaining from a three year selectboard term, previously held by herself. She won the re-election. Richard Griswold and Robin Trask were both re-elected for one year terms on the selectboard.
There were no nominations for the position of town auditor, the selectboard will look to appoint an auditor until the next town meeting.
There was two nominations for the three year lister position, Gene Garvey was nominated and Francesca Salazar was nominated for re-election. It was noted that there was currently a vacant lister position that simply wasn’t on the town warning. It was decided that the decision would go to a vote, but whichever candidate did not get elected would then be appointed by the selectboard at their next meeting.
Windsor County Sheriff Ryan Palmer spoke on his plans for policing in Andover as ballots were being passed out. “We are looking to transition from an agency that just does an hourly contract… so we can take over calls for service, answer if someone has a problem.”
Francesca won the vote 38-22.
Lucas Trask was re-elected as first constable. Haight was re-elected as delinquent tax collector. Nick Baker was re-elected as cemetery commissioner. Hank Mauti was re-elected as cemetary sexton. He spoke on his duties as sexton.
Article 3 passed with no discussion. During discussion of the FY2023-24 budget Raymond Makul spoke on Andover’s need for a fire station, “…our primary firehouse is in Chester, it is so far away from many people in this town that we are in the same risk category as having no firehouse.” He spoke on the money being paid to Chester for fire coverage, “… the $76,000 represents about 7% of our budget, 7% of our taxes are going to Chester.” Article 5 passed.
Article 6 passed with no discussion. Article 7 was approved with the amendment to “…the Monday preceding the first Tuesday in March…” Gates-Parry said she felt there had been enough discussion on the listers during the election for the position. Everyone agreed and moved on to Article 9, discussing proposed zoning changes.
State Rep. Kelly Pajala spoke on the omnibus housing bill currently in the state house. She stated it would allow the state to overrule municipalities on certain zoning rules, “…if you allow single family dwellings, the state would mandate that that would automatically mean that you would need to allow multi-unit development as well,” “no town is one size fits all.” Mauti asked her opinon on S.5, the affordable heat act. “I have some concerns about the fact that all the authority is being given to the public utilities commission,” she responded.
“Frankly, I don’t envy the selectboard for having to make a final decision on those. It was a very difficult thing to develop,” said Joe Fromberger on short term rental regulations.
The citizens of Andover voted to change the position of Lister from an elected position to an appointed one.